The Respect Kid

The Respect Kid

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The author of this novel is Margarat Atwood. She was born in Ottawa, Canada in 1939. She attended the University of Toronto, Radcliffe College, and Harvard University. This book is about a future dystopia. It shows a future in which the United States no longer exists. A knew society, known as Gilead, is created. Women are stripped of their rights. This novel shows what may lie ahead for women, if they do not begin to stand up for themselves. In this novel fertile women are scarce. These fertile women are called Handmaids. Sexual activity is regulated and monitored in order to control the population. Two of the main characters in this novel are the Commander and Offred. The Commander is the head of the household were Offred is stationed as a Handmaid. Offred is the narrator of this story. She belongs to the class of women know as Handmaids. Since the opportunity for men to have pleasure is controlled, men do not rebel against society. Promotion and wives are promised for any man who is loyal. Harsh penalties for irregular satisfaction of sexual desire including homosexuality and masturbation have been created. Marriage is completely arranged. The Handmaids are told that their old society was unstable and immoral. Women suffered a lot. The women in Gilead are told that those problems have been solved.
     Offred looses her identity in this new society. Before the new religious group of Gilead took over the world she was a very normal every day woman. She did what was expected of her time and continued to do so after the take over. She had a husband and a daughter who she loved very much. But in the new society, love is not permitted. Before the takeover social class was not a problem and each individual was treated equally. But slowly people of high social groups became much more powerful. They were chosen as Commander’s and the poorer individuals went to Colonies. Young woman were screened, and the ones who passed were used as Handmaids. These Handmaid’s had children for the infertile Commander’s wives. They would be sent away to special schools where they were taught how to give birth and to obey their masters without question. The woman’s lives were controlled by this society; and were taught to forget the society which they once lived. Things that once were, no longer existed.

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Offred lost her identity very abruptly. The first sign of change in her society was when her Constitution was suspended. It was said that it would only be temporary, but that was not the truth. Newspapers and television became very censored. Identity passes began to be used. Then finally one day everything changed. Woman were no longer allowed to hold jobs. People were shipped off to a place called the Colonies, and others went elsewhere. Things happened so quickly that no one even saw it coming. Offred adapted to the changes. Her greatest loss was love. The results of her lack of love were affairs. Affairs were strictly prohibited in the Gileadian society, but Offred still had them. The power that her master has over her eventually leads her to hate the world she lives in.
     This story is well written. It was written in the 1080's during the time of the feminist movement. This story shows what can happen in the future if care is not taken. It shows what can happen to women if they do not fight for themselves. The Handmaid's lost their identity and are important for one reason. This society claims that it benefits women and uses it ask an excuse for its existence. Unfortunately, this new society is more than some people can handle. This novel gives has lesson. Everyone who reads this novel will have learned the faults of a utopian society.
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