The Handmaid's Tale: The Class Distinction And Function Of Society Based On Colour

1455 words - 6 pages

Imagine living in a world where the colour of your clothing gave away every detail about your life; how you lived, who you lived with and your role in society. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood is a futuristic dystopian novel. It explores the reversal of women’s rights and depicts gender inequality within a frightening and controlled society characterized by the use of colour. Colour carries a strong message to the reader through the powerful significance of colour differences associated between genders, the characters’ clothing, symbolism, its use as a class designation, the intonation it has on one’s self, and others, and the existence of flower imagery.
In the Society of Gilead, ...view middle of the document...

From red the colours become lighter or less significant. This shows the decrease of importance amongst their colour classifications within the female gender. The lacking of power shows the lacking of colour.
On the other hand, a man’s role is based upon power instead of the use of one’s body. Like the women in Gilead, the most powerful men are represented with the darkest colours. As authority comes to have a lesser presence and they decrease on the hierarchy of authority, the colours lighten as well. Men are categorized into many categories including Commanders, Angels, Guardians, and Eyes. All of these positions entitle dark clothing. The colours of the men vary from grey to black. Men automatically have more authority than women and because of this their clothing is all dark, but they represent a different shade of darkness. The darkness of the clothing represents the authority.
Branching further than genders, are the specific classifications of the characters. To begin with the men, Angels dress in “neat black uniforms” (Attwood 12). Dressing in all black demonstrates their authority and importance, (being in charge of Gilead). The Eyes are dressed in the colour grey. Grey is demonstrated as a very bland colour that does not stand out. The reason of this colour not standing out is that the Eyes are more or less spies. They are not supposed to stand out until their power is needed to catch or deceive someone. Lastly, Guardians are suited in Dark Green. Dark Green is the image of soliders in previous times. This uniform represents their control and authority in Gilead. The link between these characters is the fact that their colour scale represents their authority on an authority level. The darkest colours, being the Angels, are seen to have the most authority. But, just because the Angels’ have the most authority, it does not mean that they have the most power. The Commanders are seen to be the most powerful people in Gilead. They hold the most power, as well as the darkest clothing throughout the novel. They are the rulers because their duty is to have sex with Handmaids. The Commanders having sex with Handmaids is not for pleasure, but for the utmost important role of repopulating Gilead. They command a house of their own with a Wife, Martha, Handmaid, and Guardian all in their control.
While Commanders are the most important men based on their function and control, shown through their colour, Handmaids are the most important females. The outfits of Handmaids are the colours red and white. Offred states that “everything except the wings around [her] face is red: the colour that defines [them].” (Atwood 11) “The skirt is ankle-length, full, gathered to a flat yoke that extends over the breasts, the sleeves are full. The white wings too are prescribed issue; they are to keep [them] from seeing, but also from being seen.” (Attwood 9) Demonstrated through a Hand Offred red represents them all. The colours of Handmaids clothing proves their...

Find Another Essay On The Handmaid's Tale: The Class Distinction and Function of Society based on Colour

'All men, in the novel, abuse their power and higher place in society over women'. Discuss how true this statement is in Margret Atwood's 'The Handmaid's Tale'.

514 words - 2 pages 'All men, in the novel, abuse their power and higher place in society over women'.Discuss how true this statement is in Margret Atwood's 'The Handmaid's Tale'.The handmaids tale is set in a patriarchal society highly dominated by men, some of which abuse their power and use their higher status in society to get what they want. A prime example ofAnother example of a character that abuses his power, is one who takes advantage of the protagonist of

Interpreting The Handmaid's Tale Essay

625 words - 3 pages Interpreting The Handmaid's Tale The Handmaid's Tale is distinguished by its various narrative and structural divisions. It contains four different levels of narrative time: the pre-Revolution past, the time of the Revolution itself, the Gileadean period, and the post-Gileadean period (LeBihan 100). In addition, the novel is divided into two frames, both with a first person narrative. Offred's narrative makes up the first frame, while the

The Handmaid's Tale

940 words - 4 pages The Handmaid's Tale Serena Joy is the most powerful female presence in the hierarchy of Gileadean women; she is the central character in the dystopian novel, signifying the foundation for the Gileadean regime. Atwood uses Serena Joy as a symbol for the present dystopian society, justifying why the society of Gilead arose and how its oppression had infiltrated the lives of unsuspecting people. Atwood individualises the character of Serena

A Nation of Indoctrination: "The Handmaid's Tale"

1852 words - 7 pages Handmaid's Tale as one logical outcome of what she termed the 'strict theocracy' of the 'fundamentalist government' of the United States' Puritan founding fathers” (Margaret Atwood, Feminism, and "The Handmaid's Tale"). The irony of the Gilead’s regime lies in the fact that they claim to be based on biblical and godly principles, but their core beliefs and actions seem to prove otherwise. Despite taking ownership to the Christian faith, there is

Character Analysis of The Handmaid's Tale

1134 words - 5 pages Character Analysis of The Handmaid's Tale Moira ===== We first meet Moira "breezing into" (P65) Offred's room at college. She is the breath of fresh air. As Offred says, "She always made me laugh" (P66). One of her roles is to bring humour to the reader, to lighten the situation and contrast with the horror of the Gileadean regime. An example of this is when Moira changes the hymn "There is a Balm in

Feminism In The Handmaid's Tale

1701 words - 7 pages characters in the novel are portrayed in such a way that they directly conflict with the idea of women's empowerment.   On the surface, The Handmaid's Tale appears to be feminist in nature. The point-of-view character and narrator is a woman and thus we see the world through a woman's eyes. There's much more to the story than that, though. Atwood doesn't show us our world. She shows us a newly created world in which women lack the freedoms

The Handmaid's Tale Response Piece

928 words - 4 pages The novel the Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood, chillingly explores the consequences of a reversal of women’s rights. It made me very aware and somewhat paranoid about what could happen if a rogue government took control and took all women's rights away. The novel is set in a speculative future, exploring gender inequalities in an absolute patriarchy in which women are breeders, housekeepers, mistresses, or housewives. It is written in such a

Power in The Handmaid's Tale

1712 words - 7 pages Power in The Handmaid's Tale As you read through the handmaid’s tale you see the relationships of the characters develop and the fight for power, however small that glimpse of power may be. The images of power can be seen through out the novel, but there are major parts that stand out to the reader from the aunt’s in the training centre to the secret meetings between the Commander and Offred. The first we see of the struggles of power

The Handmaid's Tale: Plot Analysis

1923 words - 8 pages The Handmaid's Tale is written by Margaret Atwood and was originally published by McClelland and Stewart in 1985. The novel is set in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Handmaid's Tale explores themes of a new totalitarian theocratic state society that is terrifying and horrific. Its main concentration is on the subjugation of women in Gilead, and it also explores the plethora of means by which the state and agencies gain control and domination

The Importance of the Narrator of The Handmaid's Tale

1055 words - 4 pages discrepancy.  When Offred used to meet Luke, there was one sole reason - love.  Offred meets with the Commander for the things that represent freedom to her; fashion magazines, silk stockings and lotion. The Commander is simply emphasizing his sense of power.         Offred achieves Margaret Atwood's purpose in The Handmaid's Tale. She shows the possibility of a society, due to radical feminism and

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale

1567 words - 6 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

Similar Essays

Essay On The Handmaid's Tale As A Warning To Society

938 words - 4 pages The Handmaid's Tale as a Warning to Society   Margaret Atwood's renowned science fiction novel, The Handmaid's Tale, was written in 1986 during the rise of the opposition to the feminist movement. Atwood, a Native American, was a vigorous supporter of this movement. The battle that existed between both sides of the women's rights issue inspired her to write this work. Because it was not clear just what the end result of the feminist

Book Report To The Class On A Handmaid's Tale By Margaret Atwood. May Want To Add More About The Themes And Take Out Some Of The Plot Description

1071 words - 4 pages staple of high school and college reading lists.The Handmaid's Tale is set in the near future in the fictional Republic of Gilead, which is started after "they shot the [US] president and machine gunned the Congress and the army declared a state of emergency." Immediately after this catastrophe the Constitution was suspended, newspapers were censored or shut down, and roadblocks appeared. Soon, all women lost their jobs, their bank accounts were

The Role Of Women In Modern Society In Comparison To Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale"

1571 words - 6 pages nothing but servants in the household, and have less freedom than the Handmaids, no outings, nor any sexual experience. Due to the resentment and bitterness heavily weighed on the Handmaids, many take the only freedom which exists; the freedom to refuse to handle any of the pressure and take the only control of their life- to end it; "She hanged herself....it was better." (Atwood 329)The patriarchal society portrayed in The Handmaid's Tale is one of

Conflict Theory Based On Stratification In The Social Class In Society

696 words - 3 pages Discuss in detail the three (3) major assumptions of Conflict Theory. In light of these assumptions, how do conflict theorists view stratification based on social class in society. Include in your discussion 2 specific examples to support the conflict view. I. Definition of conflict theory: Conflict theory: this theory basically says that in society everyone functions to maximize their own benefits. Social/ political change, it is argued, is