The Handmaids Tale: Oppression of Women for Male Political Gain Essay

The Handmaids Tale: Oppression of Women for Male Political Gain Essay

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The Handmaids Tale is a poetic tale of a woman's survival as a Handmaid in the male dominated Republic of Gilead. Offred portrayed the struggle living as a Handmaid, essentially becoming a walking womb and a slave to mankind. Women throughout Gilead are oppressed because they are seen as "potentially threatening and subversive and therefore require strict control" (Callaway 48). The fear of women rebelling and taking control of society is stopped through acts such as the caste system, the ceremony and the creation of the Handmaids. The Republic of Gilead is surrounded with people being oppressed. In order for the Republic to continue running the way it is, a sense of control needs to be felt by the government. Without control Gilead will collapse.
The Republic of Gilead is a futuristic world where its citizens are controlled through a group of classes known as the caste system. Allana A. Callaway describes this government creation as a "superficially designed [way] to simplify the lives of citizens by dividing them into classes with clearly delineated standards" (Callaway 49). Each citizen in Gilead is controlled in some way by the caste. The Handmaids are controlled by their large red dresses and eye blinders on their hat. The Daughters wear white to show their purity, the Wives by their home restrictions. The Commanders are controlled by their obligations. Every person working, and living in Gilead has some sort of restriction placed on them.
Offred is a Handmaid, who is thought of as the most and least important people in the caste system; "they rank among the most powerful female agents of the patriarchal order." (Callaway 50). The Handmaids have one thing that all the women in Gilead want – fertility. Their fertility ma...


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...ssed by receiving less salary for more work. Women are seen as sexual trophies, things to look at. Men are seen as dominant, the bread winner and macho. Men and women are seen as sex symbols, and treated as such. If Americans do not begin to cooperate, life could end up much like the one described in The Handmaid’s Tale; a Republic that takes basic rights away from human beings. A country where the only way to gain basic human cooperation is abandoned and genders are oppressed to make the other more powerful.



Works Cited

Atwwod, M. (1986). The Handmaid's Tale. New York: Anchor Books.

Callaway, Alanna A., "Women disunited : Margaret Atwood's The handmaid's tale as a critique of feminism" (2008). Master's Theses. Paper 3505.
http://shcolarworks.sjsu.edu/etd_theses/3505

Version, H. B. (1984). Keith (Ed) Danby. New York: International Bible Society.

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