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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 feminism, which cause them to be degraded women with a loss of identity.
The powerful figures in The Handmaids Tale would be considered the Commander’s wives or the Aunts. Gilead could be represented as a hierarchy with the Commander wives at the top of the pyramid. Beneath the top of the pyramid would be the Aunts, and then the Handmaids, which the novel is centered around. The Aunts makes the rules that the Handmaids have to abide by strictly. The Aunts are the central power figure and the authority figures at the center. They have the control to change the rules, persecute the Handmaids and use their power of supervision to the extremes. The Aunts do have somewhat of a leniency to do what they want, however they cannot be careless because they need to have good morals and set a good example for the Handmaids. The eye is also watching them and the Handmaids. The world of Gilead could be compared to a democratic government where the Aunts would be the governors and the Commanders wives would be the Prime Ministers. The Aunts are supervisory figures at this center where all these women live. The featured Aunt of this novel is Aunt Lydia, she supervises the women. Aunt Lydia also voices her opinion to the women about how women should be solely concerned with conceiving children and about other beliefs of women in the Gilead society. The Aunts claim that the women are protected from violence and are kept safe, especially when rape is a terrible penalty resulting in horrific beatings and hangings.
The loss of identity is shown when the women convert to the Handmaids with their changed names under constant supervision in a totalitarian state. The loss of identity is prevalent amongst the Handmaids when they have to endure the struggle of control with wearing the same red uniformed dress, not showing their faces. Once the women convert to the now freedom less and strict life of being a Handmaid, their name is changed to only one name beginning with “of” from their given birth name. Offred and Ofglen have these names which are used as slave name for their function. Offred’s name is means “of Fred” which meaning that she belongs to her Commander whose name is Fred. This society on the way women are treated and the way they choose to dress is like a flashback to a past era of time, the 1800s. The Handmaids not only choose but also have a desire to become impregnated by the Commander even though they have wives. They want to be the one who has the ability or even chance to carry a child of the Commanders. They make...

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