Essay PreviewMore ↓
In Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale, women are subjected to unthinkable oppression. Practically every aspect of their life is controlled, and they are taught to believe that their only purpose is to bear children for their commander. These “handmaids” are not allowed to read, write or speak freely. Any type of expression would be dangerous to the order of the Gilead’s strict society. They are conditioned to believe that they are safer in this new society. Women are supposedly no longer exploited or disrespected (pornography, rape, etc.) as they once were. Romantic relationships are strongly prohibited because involving emotion would defeat the handmaid’s sole purpose of reproducing. Of course not all women who were taken into Gilead believed right what was happening to their way of life. Through the process of storytelling, remembering, and rebellion, Offred and other handmaids cease to completely submit to Gilead’s repressive culture.
“We learned to whisper almost without sound. In the semidarkness we would stretch out our arms, when the Aunts weren’t looking, and touch each other’s hands across space. We learned to lip-read, our heads flat on the beds, turned sideways, watching each other’s mouths.” (Atwood, p4) The handmaids whisper to each other to exchange information. They engage in this conversation to keep alive the nature of relationships between people. It is very lonely for these women, for they cannot say what is on their mind, they are only allowed pre-approved phrases from Gilead’s authorities Without this contact it would be impossible for the women to reminisce and be comforted. Another way of keeping the past real to Offred is to remember old stories from before the revolution. She spends a lot of her time thinking about her husband Luke and how the city used to look before, “Lilies used to be a movie theater here, before. Students went there a lot; every spring they had a Humphrey Bogart festival with Lauren Bacall or Katherine Hepburn, women on their own, making up their own minds” (Atwood, 25). These small rebellions that Offred and other handmaids participate in are very significant. The simple fact that they choose to engage in these insurgences shows that they still cling on to their more just and free past. They still have a notion of truth and are keeping it alive. Having these passions and feelings causes the structure of Gilead to truly not work, and will probably (The Handmaid’s Tale was left open ended) lead to its demise.
How to Cite this Page
"Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale." 123HelpMe.com. 15 Aug 2018
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale Love of God replaces love of humanity in Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale. Offred’s recollections of her past life, especially of her husband, are ones filled with passion and happiness as she remembers his tenderness towards her. Much more emphasis is put on the physical human form in her memories; she often remembers lying with her husband while she wears little or no clothing. Appreciation of the human form is an essential component of loving humanity.... [tags: Margaret Atwood Handmaid Tale Essays]
1418 words (4.1 pages)
- Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale Chapter nine opening section two of the novel is mainly recalling the last chapters and about the narrator rediscovering herself, surfacing the truth. In section one we see the narrator talking in the present tense in a very descriptive form, outlining the novel. However in section two we see her talking in the past tense demonstrating the stories she is telling. The separation between the human and the natural world and the narrator’s struggle with language most directly portrays the novel's dualities.... [tags: Margaret Atwood Handmaid's Tale Essays]
1712 words (4.9 pages)
- Representation of Colors in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale Imagine if you can, living in a world that tells you what you are to wear, where to live, as well as your position and value to society. In Margaret Atwood's novel, The Handmaid's Tale, she shows us the Republic of Gilead does just that. Offred, the main character, is a Handmaid, whose usefulness is her ovaries. Handmaids are ordered to live in a house with a Commander, his wife, and once a month attempt to become pregnant by the Commander.... [tags: Handmaid's Tale Atwood Margaret Essays]
1784 words (5.1 pages)
- “Atwood’s feminism is an integral part of her critical approach, just as her concept of criticism is inseparable from her creative work” Walter Pache (1). A dystopia is a fictional society, usually existing in a future time period, in which the condition of life is extremely difficult due to deprivation, oppression or terror. In most dystopian fiction, a corrupt government creates or sustains the poor quality of life, often conditioning the masses to believe the society is proper and just, even perfect.... [tags: Handmaid's Tale Margaret Atwood Essays]
2516 words (7.2 pages)
- In the Days of Anarchy To live in a country such as the United States of America is considered a privilege. The liberties that American citizens are entitled to, as declared in the Constitution, makes the United States an attractive and envied democracy. It would be improbable to imagine these liberties being stripped from American society. However, Margaret Atwood depicts the United States as a dystopian society in her novel The Handmaid’s Tale. The first society is modern America, with its autonomy and liberal customs.... [tags: Margaret Atwood Handmaid's Tale]
1122 words (3.2 pages)
- Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale In "The Handmaid's Tale", Margaret Atwood tells a saddening story about a not-to-distant future where toxic chemicals and abuses of the human body have resulted in many men and women alike becoming sterile. The main character, Offred, gives a first person encounter about her subservient life as a handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, a republic formed after a bloody coup against the United States government. She and her fellow handmaids are fertile women that the leaders of Gilead, the Commanders, enslave to ensure their power and the population of the Republic.... [tags: Atwood Handmaid's Tale Essays]
1236 words (3.5 pages)
- Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale The Historical Notes are important in the way we perceive the novel as they answer many important questions raised by the novel and also enhance some of the novels main themes. The first question it answers is the one raised at the end of the novel; that is whether Offred is stepping up into the,'darkness,' or the, 'light.' The reader finds out that Offred escaped Gilead, presumably into Canada, with the help of the,'Underground Femaleroad.' The reader also learns that it was Nick who orchestrated her escape, using his position as a member of the Eyes.... [tags: Atwood Handmaid's Tale Essays]
978 words (2.8 pages)
- Symbolism and Loss of Identity in The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood In Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Offred recounts the story of her life and that of others in Gilead, but she does not do so alone. The symbolic meanings found in the dress code of the women, the names/titles of characters, the absence of the mirror, and the smell and hunger imagery aid her in telling of the repugnant conditions in the Republic of Gilead. The symbols speak with a voice of their own and in decibels louder than Offred can ever dare to use.... [tags: Handmaid's Tale Essays Atwood ]
934 words (2.7 pages)
- The Dystopia in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale Offred is a Handmaid in what used to be the United States, now the theocratic Republic of Gilead. In order to create Gilead's idea of a more perfect society, they have reverted to taking the Book of Genesis at its word. Women no longer have any privileges; they cannot work, have their own bank accounts, or own anything. The also are not allowed to read or even chose who they want to marry. Women are taught that they should be subservient to men and should only be concerned with bearing children.... [tags: Handmaid's Tale Essays]
1097 words (3.1 pages)
- Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale: Novel and Film The Handmaid's Tale, a science-fiction novel written by Margaret Atwood, focuses on women's rights and what could happen to them in the future. This novel was later made into a movie in 1990. As with most cases of books made into movies, there are some similarities and differences between the novel and the film. Overall the film tends to stay on the same track as the book with a few minor details changed, and only two major differences. Atwood sets the story not too far into the future, and the women have lost almost all of their rights.... [tags: Compare Contrast Handmaid Atwood Essays]
2083 words (6 pages)
These women are like the poets in Plato’s Republic, whom Socrates fears would end the success of his state. If people were to indulge in passions (which the women are told not to, such as believing in romantic love) the people would be ruled by desires, not laws, “And if you admit the sweetened muse in lyrics or epics, pleasure and pain will jointly be kings in your city instead of law” (The Republic, p290, ln 607 a-b). And so these handmaids of Gilead bring with them stories from their past and memories of romantic and sisterly love, which prohibits them from total subservience to the restrictive state. The visual process: Finding images to compliment my writing was very satisfying. I found the process unproblematic and ended up finding images that were practically exact to what I had envisioned. The process of choosing photos to enhance and dictate my writing left me feeling that my work was more thoroughly complete and aesthetically stimulating.
To find images I would type in key words, such as, conversation, restriction, story, etc., into Google Image search. What I found were many paintings and sketches with vibrant colors. I wanted no real photographs (of actual people and objects) because I wanted to portray a more imaginative, surreal feeling, which is what the Handmaid’s tale is (far-fetched). The bright colors of most of my images sharply juxtapose the rigid nature of the Gilead society, and depict the passion of the handmaid’s acts. I chose the image (with many vibrant colors) of women conversing to illustrate the liberating nature of speech. Contrastingly I chose a girl behind bars to demonstrate the restrictive Gilead culture against women. The image of the two people embracing hit me as particularly strong. The two people are in love (which is strictly prohibited, but is still alive in the minds and actions of Offred) and there is a red shadow around them (which I added myself through PhotoShop). This is significant because throughout the Handmaid’s Tale, the color red is a reoccurring motif. Red depicts the supposed sexual sin of the Handmaid’s (which is an allusion used from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, The Scarlet Letter). Red is the color of the handmaids dresses, and is mentioned repeatedly throughout the book. It alludes to the religious sinfulness of promiscious sexuality and their relationship with the "married" commander.