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Imaginary Space In Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale

1821 words - 8 pages

Imaginary Space
In Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale
“One is not born a woman, but rather becomes one” Simone de Beauvoir.
The female body is being constructed by the patriarchal system, which is under the control of the societal institutions like state, family, and economy where power operates in the form of culture, tradition, religion and so on. The societal construction of gender takes place through the workings of ideology. Ideology offers partial truths obscuring the actual conditions of one’s existence and making people act in ways that are contradictory. An oppression of the woman results in this construction. They being unpaid workers don’t even protest against the manhood, who is the so called “Head of the Family”. Society overpowers the courses of action of men and women through cultural tyranny. The socialization process forces them into behavioral modes, personality characteristics. And occupational roles considered befitting by the society. Woman had always been constructed and oppressed by the patriarchal system, from ancient period to the modern times. Women had always suffered, a subordinate status to men, from time immemorial.

An important element of the connection of social and system integration are the institutionalized practices. These are practices that have managed to outlast in time and have a spatial ‘breadth’, meaning they are widespread across a range of interactions. The structures that organize these practices are considered as deeply layered. Each society has different conditions of social and system integration, which means different connections between the proximate and remote in time and space, and so its own form of institutional articulation. When religion becomes instutionalized, the normalcy of the society is disturbed and the already suppressed ones get more suppressed. The woman, who has been constructed by the patriarchy, as the weak sex, suffers most, in these societal and religious institutionalized practices.
The structural properties of domination include the dominion of human beings over the material world and over the social world .The importance of resources is related to the centrality of power in social systems. All social interaction involves the use of power, as a necessary implication of the logical connection between human action and transformative capacity. Today’s society, being very competitive, never cares for what happens tomorrow. If everything goes on like this, soon mankind will reach a phase where, women will be seen only as a child-bearer or house-keepers, and nothing more.
Margaret Atwood imagines such a society in her futuristic dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. The utopia and its offshoot, the dystopia, are genres of literature that explore social and political structures. Utopian fiction is the creation of an ideal society, or utopia, as the setting for a novel. Dystopian fiction is the opposite: creation of an utterly horrible or degraded society, or dystopia....

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