The Handmaids Tale, written by Margaret Attwood, goes on to explore the consequences that come to be from the reversal of womens rights in a society called Gilead. It is what one can consider a cautionary tale. In the new world of Gilead, a group of conservative religious extremists have taken power, and have turned the sexual revolution upside down. The society of Gilead is founded on what is to be considered a return to traditional values, gender roles and the subjugation of women by men, and the Bible is used as the guiding principle. It differs completely from the society, which was once the place in which Feminists argued for liberation from the traditional gender roles. What women had worked hard for in the area of gaining rights to birth control, legalization of abortion and an increasing number of active female voters, had been completely reversed in a short period of time. Not only were women now forbidden to vote in Gilead, they were also denied the right to read or write, according to the new laws of the establishment. The Handmaids Tale portrays that of a totalitarian society, and reflects a dystopia, which goes on to explore the interaction between sexuality and politics.
The main character within the novel is Offred, who also happens to be a handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. Offred is not the Narrators real name; it is her handmaid name, which is derived from the word of followed by her Commanders name. Because of low birth rates, Handmaids are assigned to bear the children for the elite couples within Gilead, who have trouble conceiving. Offred serves the Commander and his wife Serena Joy. Serena was once an advocate for the concept of traditional values, before the establishment of Gi...
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...ppression and the dangers of a patriarchal society. The Handmaid's Tale has many elements of social decline written into its plot. From the way women are mistreated to the way corruption and evil have infiltrated the government and army, to the way the black market plays a key role in many people's lives causing a majority of society to become criminals makes it clear how social decline plays a key role in the book. There is also a strong sense of moral decline in the book. If a person, regardless of sex, doesn't fit into the role expectation, he or she is eliminated, exiled from Gilead, and left for dead. Dystopia, the final determinant in the success of The Handmaid's Tale is an imaginary world gone sour through idealism that fails to correspond to the expectations, principles, and behaviors of real people.
Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaids Tale
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