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A Look Into Gilead Women Essay

1920 words - 8 pages

If one were to scale in human nature, that determines the desired state of man and the role in which they play in society they could apply it to the lense of gender criticism. The left having the undesired state of man; a life full of sickness, poverty, dissatisfaction, disrespectfulness, and unhappiness. As for the right; a life containing health, wealth, satisfaction, respect, and happiness. Many different aspects go into such a scale like education, gender, and class. An author could use this scale in order to classify the roles of their characters in their novel. Margaret Atwood in The Handmaid’s Tale through her use of characterization demonstrates the role of women is determined, but not subject to improvement, by expectation of society, class and education.

In the mid-1980s, in the town of Boston, Massachusetts, a group of fundamentalists decided that they were going to take over the nation. After killing the president of the United States and the members of Congress, they implemented a new form of government in which it stunted women’s growth in society by taking away their credit cards and denying them jobs and education. This new society was called Gilead, “...a repressively conservative state bent on annihilating homeosexuals, abortionists, and religious sects other thatn their own, and resetting Jews, old women, and nonwhite people in radioactive territory, known as the Colonies” (Snodgrass). In their utopian society, the government has the power to require any fertile female to submit their body into a government-supervised child producing program. The others were sent to the Colonies in order to become part of the clean-up crew (Novels for Students). Those who were fertile were taken away from their normal life and sent to Commander’s home. A commander is a male that has a commander role in the military, and only these men are allowed to take a wife and are given handmaids, which is what the fertile women are called. These handmaid’s would be assigned a certain Commander for a period of two years. If they were to conceive a approvable baby (one without abnormalities- unbaby), they would continue to serve as that Commander’s handmaid until the term was up. They would run errands and attend the necessary meetings and take care of the baby. After two years, the handmaid is moved to a different home in order to start the cycle all over again. After the handmaid has been in three different houses with having a successful birth, they are sent to the colonies so that the government would not waste their time on a woman who would never produce what they wanted (Millman).

Now, if the handmaid did conceive and have a baby, all of the wives would gather together to take care of the Commander’s Wife who would lie in a downstairs room to wait for the newborn cry. The handmaid, the one in labor, would occupy the master bedroom upstairs along with all of the other handmaid’s that came to see such event. Once the baby was born, he/she was...

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