Free Handmaid's Tale Essays: The Struggle of Women

Free Handmaid's Tale Essays: The Struggle of Women

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The Struggle of Women in The Handmaid's Tale 


The Handmaid's Tale  This is a futuristic novel that takes place in the northern part of the USA sometime in the beginning of the twenty-first century, in the oppressive and totalitarian Republic of Gilead. The regime demands high moral retribution and a virtuous lifestyle. The Bible is the guiding principle. As a result of the sexual freedom, free abortion and high increase of venereal diseases at the end of the twentieth century, many women, (and men also, but that is forbidden to say), are sterile. The women who are still fertile are recruited as Handmaids, and their only mission in life is to give birth to the offspring of their Commander, whose wife is infertile.

The main character in the book is Offred, one of these unfortunate servants whose only right to exist depends on her ovaries’ productivity. She lives with the Commander and his wife in a highly supervised centre.

Unlike men, women have been facing unique problems for centuries, and often women experience harassment and discrimination. In today's society, females are trying to combat their tribulations through lawsuits and protest rallies. Literature often deals with people being unable to articulate their problems. Often, unforeseen circumstances force people to conceal their true emotions. In The Handmaid's Tale, the main female characters find ways to escape their situations rather than deal with them.

Offred from The Handmaid's Tale uses different tactics to cope with her situation. She is trapped within a distopian society comprised of a community riddled by despair. Though she is not physically tortured, the overwhelming and ridiculously powerful government mentally enslaves her. Offred lives in a horrific society, which prevents her from being freed. Essentially, the government enslaves her because she is a female and she is fertile. Offred memories about the way life used to be with her husband, Luke, her daughter, and her best friend Moira provides her with temporary relief from her binding situation. Also, Offred befriends the Commander's aide, Nick. Offred longs to be with her husband and she feels that she can find his love by being with Nick. She risks her life several times just to be with Nick. Feeling loved by Nick gives her a window of hope in her otherwise miserable life.

Instead of proclaiming her feelings out loud, she suppresses them. The result is a series of recordings, which describes her life, and the things she wishes she could change.

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Through these examples, it is apparent that Offred cannot resolve her problems because of outside circumstances.

Works such as The Handmaid's Tale deal with females being unable to resolve their problems. Many authors have written on this subject matter. Though some problems are unavoidable, one can overcome certain situations by being more assertive. Along with male domination and the laws of society, women have had to contend with other challenging and oppressing situations. Despite this, women in modern society are becoming more powerful.

You don’t state your thesis until your third paragraph, and it needs to be stated in the beginning paragraph.  “In The Handmaid's Tale, the main female characters find ways to escape their situations rather than deal with them.”  If this is your thesis, you need to make sure that everything in your paper supports this statement.  Right now, your paper focuses on one character, Offred, but your thesis says “the main female characters.”  To make this work, you have to either discuss several more characters and how they escape their circumstances (which I think would be very interesting and add a lot to your paper) or reword your thesis.  “In The Handmaid's Tale, Offred, the main female character, does not effectively deal with her oppressed condition, but instead tries to find ways to escape reality”  would be one example of this.

Your paper starts with a plot summary.  While it is good to give the reader a sense of background, you need to do this by incorporating plot example into your argument.  You shouldn’t have paragraphs that discuss plot only; instead, your paragraphs should each have a main idea that supports your thesis, and then plot should be used to support that main idea.

Also, in addition to plot, it always helps a lot if you can find quotes from the text to support your thesis.

I think it is interesting how you make the connection between the women in this book and modern women.  However, it really isn’t included in your thesis, so you probably should not include it.  The only proper way to include it would be to rewrite your thesis statement to include a comparison between Offred and modern women, and then support it by going beyond vague statements.  For example, the statement Along with male domination and the laws of society, women have had to contend with other challenging and oppressing situations. Despite this, women in modern society are becoming more powerful” is somewhat vague. You would need to describe oppressing situations that correspond to the ones in The Handmaid’s Tale” and tell how they are dealing with them, etc.


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