This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Handmaids Tale, By Margaret Atwood

880 words - 4 pages

In Margaret Atwoods ‘The Handmaids Tale’, we hear of one women’s posting ‘Offred’ in the Republic of Gilead. A society based around Biblical philosophies as a way to validate inhumane state practises. In a society of declining birth rates, fertile women are chosen to become Handmaids, walking incubators, whose role in life is to reproduce for barren wives of commanders. Older women, gay men, and barren Handmaids are sent to the colonies to clean toxic waste.
Fear is power. Fear is ever-present in Gilead; it is implemented through violence and force. It is through fear that the regime controls the Gileadian society. There is no way Offred, or the other Handmaids can avoid it. The dead bodies hanging on the wall are a relentless reminder of what rebellion and conflict result in. The abuse of power is also present in chapter fifteen after Moira attempts to escape, she is taken to the old science lab and has her feet beaten with steel frayed wires and is then left on her bed ‘’Moira lay on her bed as an example.’’ (pg. 102 ) She is an example of what rebellion results in. Therefore, creating fear in the other Handmaids.
The Handmaids are treated like cattle, aunts use cattle prods to gain power and assert authority over the Handmaids. Aunts have so much power over them, that they are able to control them at a blow of a whistle to kill someone in the mass salvaging’s. The salvaging’s are another a way to provoke fear in order to gain more power over the Handmaids. Handmaids are branded like cattle, a numerical tattoo on their ankle comprising of an eye and four digits; prevents them from escaping. Offred refers to it as ‘’ A passport in reverse.’’ (pg. 75 ) this reference implies that there is no escape or leaving her situation, as a passport would allow a person to leave a country.

The Gilead regime uses language, particularly Biblical language to solidify its power. Language has a strong influence in moulding how people think, and it is fully abused by the rulers of Gilead, for example, the phrase ‘’give me children or else I die.’’ (pg. 99 ) gave the republic of Gilead the idea to use handmaids to bear children for barren wives. Bible readings and prayers before the ceremony, ‘’god hath given me hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband.’’(pg101 ) Is another example the regime justifies its actions and the role of the handmaid, to disguise what is actually taking place.
Offred's memories are a way for her to escape a society riddled with hopelessness. The...

Find Another Essay On The Handmaids Tale, by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

661 words - 3 pages In The Handmaid’s Tale, much use is made of imagery; to enable the reader to create a more detailed mental picture of the novel’s action and also to intensify the emotive language used. In particular, Atwood uses many images involving flowers and plants. The main symbolic image that the flowers provide is that of life; in the first chapter of the novel Offred says “…flowers: these are not to be dismissed. I am alive.” Many of the flowers

Margaret Atwood use of Language and Narrative Technique in The Handmaids Tale

1588 words - 6 pages From the outset of 'The Handmaids Tale' the reader is placed in an unknown world, where the rights and freedom of women have been taken away. We follow the narrative journey of a handmaid, named Offred. Throughout the first 15 Chapters we are provided with information, as narrated by Offred, with glimpses of her past life and her journey to the life she is now facing. These glimpses are not logical in their sequencing or chronological in the

Vision of Feminism in the Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

1228 words - 5 pages Feminism in the novel The Handmaid’s Tale written by Margaret Atwood is a prominent theme. This novel represents the morals and horrors of a vision of feminism, which is sometimes taken to the extremes. Women’s rights have been downgraded and as a result of this women are used to bear children and are constantly watched by the eye. The Handmaids are considered powerful figures in the novels’ society while living in a dystopia of cultural

Dystopia Society in the Handmaid´s Tale by Margaret Atwood

1288 words - 6 pages In Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood writes about a dystopia society. Atwood used situations that were happening during the time she began writing her novel, for example, women’s rights, politics, and in religious aspects. Atwood’s novel is relevant to contemporary society. There are similarities between Atwood’s novel and our society today, which lends to the possibility that our modern society might be headed to a less

Society in The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

2293 words - 9 pages the masses to believe the society is proper and just, even perfect. Most dystopian fiction takes place in the future but purposely incorporates contemporary social trends taken to horrendous extremes. The novel, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, by Margaret Atwood focuses on the choices made by those controlling the society of Gilead in which increasing the population and preservation of mankind is the main objective, instead of freedom or

Critical Analysis Of 'The Handmaid's Tale' By Margaret Atwood

1052 words - 5 pages The creation of Offred, the passive narrator of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, was intentional. The personality of the narrator in this novel is almost as important as the task bestowed upon her. Atwood chooses an average women, appreciative of past times, who lacks imagination and fervor, to contrast the typical feminist, represented in this novel by her mother and her best friend, Moira. Atwood is writing for a specific audience

Heros in Gilgamesh by David Ferry and Offred The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

961 words - 4 pages focus on two, Gilgamesh from Gilgamesh by David Ferry and Offred from The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. At first glance, Gilgamesh is the embodiment of a bad ruler. He is all knowing, prideful, tyrannical, and cruel. For example, it is stated, "Gilgamesh, the strongest one of all, the perfect, the terror (4)." The people of Uruk criticize of his domination to the gods and the gods react by constructing Enkidu to

The theme of power and control as demonstrated through The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

2232 words - 9 pages of the patriarchal society. Therefore, the Commander and the Commander's Wives are at the top of the power structure in society, and the Handmaids are below them.It is clear that the dystopic novel, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood demonstrates the theme of power and control through the depiction of the Republic of Gilead; a severely oppressive society. This theme is portrayed by the role of government, the role of the Aunts, and the

George Orwell's "1984" and Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaids Tale"

2086 words - 8 pages Offred in The Handmaids Tale.Additionally the historical notes at the end of The Handmaids Tale shows that the Gilead state could not completely control love and emotion, and its methods cannot deter human nature. Thus by adopting the first person narrative for her novel Atwood can illustrate clearly that human desires are stronger than the doctrines of Gilead and that state's control of love and emotion isn't working.In both of the novels the

The Presentation of the Commander in The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

793 words - 3 pages The Presentation of the Commander in The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood The commander can be seen as a man torn between two worlds, he was one of the founders of Gilead yet still enjoys and yearns for the pleasures of the old society he managed to break. It can be seen as ' he has made his bed and now he must sleep in it'. The commander is cool and collected on the surface but underneath he is bitter and corrupted

Symbolism and Loss of Identity in The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

932 words - 4 pages Symbolism and Loss of Identity in The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood In Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Offred recounts the story of her life and that of others in Gilead, but she does not do so alone. The symbolic meanings found in the dress code of the women, the names/titles of characters, the absence of the mirror, and the smell and hunger imagery aid her in telling of the repugnant conditions in the Republic of Gilead. The

Similar Essays

The Handmaids Tale By Margaret Atwood

989 words - 4 pages “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any”-Alice Walker. What this quote really means is that people are hopeless and they don’t realize on what they could do. They only focus on what’s going to happen next and about their safety, but they don’t notice that they are giving up their power to the government, leaving them powerless. Margaret Atwood examines power and peoples attempts to control each other

"The Handmaid's Tale" By Margaret Atwood

1764 words - 7 pages Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid's Tale. Toronto: McClelland-Stewart, 1985, Seal Books edition 1998In "The Handmaid's Tale" one of the main themes is the influence of government. All areas of peoples' lives are controlled by the government, which is a totalitarian regime. The government in Gilead rules with the political concept that the citizen should be totally subject to an absolute state authority. The state in this case believes (or at least

The Handmaid's Tale By Margaret Atwood

623 words - 2 pages In Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale, our eyes are open to an oppressive society of which seems to be the near future. Widespread sterility has led to the rich controlling young women of childbearing age, who are called “handmaidens”. The tale is narrated by Kate, also known as “Offred”, her handmaid name. She relates her struggle throughout in the most vivid of ways. The struggle around her: the oppressive Republic of Gilead, and the

"The Handmaid's Tale" By Margaret Atwood

1528 words - 6 pages English LiteratureThe Handmaids TaleWill society ever reach a point where it is considered the 'natural norm' by all, and therefore unable to undergo further change? It is impossible to imagine that such a point could ever exist, as all people would have different belief, values and expectations according to their past experiences. In The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood, the oppressive Gilead regime enforces their new ideals on the