Imagine waking up to the President and Congress being gunned down and the United States run by extremist “ Christian fundamentalist ” ( Beauchamp ) . In Margaret Atwood ‘s The Handmaid ‘s Tale, this awful scenario is non a dream, but a world. Atwood admitted in an interview with Mervyn Rothstien of New York Times, “ I delayed composing it for about three old ages after I got the thought because I felt it was excessively brainsick. ” The dystopian society of the Republic of Gilead, one time the United States, is a really scarey idea but raises inquiries on the intervention of adult females in today ‘s society. The Handmaids Tale is a futuristic scientific discipline fiction novel told by a Handmaid, a adult female who sole intent is to conceive kids, named Ofglen. The Canadian author is known for the intimations of feminism in her novels but The Handmaid ‘s Tale strays off from little feminism to extremist feminism. Feminism is an political orientation that favors adult females ‘s equality to work forces and it has been an issue for centuries. In the United States, adult females did non acquire the right to vote until the 1920 ‘s and adult females were besides non accepted into the work force until around the 1960 ‘s ( Loveday ) . Atwood ‘s The Handmaid ‘s Tale depicts feminism in an antifeminist environment through, point of position, limitations on adult females, and male power.
Because of the increasing sterility rates, the Republic decided to implement the usage of Handmaids. The thought of the Handmaids came from the Bible, “ Now Sarai, Abraham ‘s married woman, bore him no kids: and she had a servant, an Egyptian miss name Hagar ” ( The Hebrew-Greek Bible, Genesis 16:1 ) . Abraham ‘s married woman, Sarai could non bear kids, so Hagar was appointed to bear kids in Sarai ‘s topographic point. Atwood was cagey utilizing Ofglen, a Handmaid, as the storyteller of The Handmaid ‘s Tale because she had no right to her organic structure. Ofglen watched docudrama of a broad women’s rightist group keeping a mark that read, “ Freedom to take. Every babe a wanted babe. Recapture our organic structures ” ( Atwood 120 ) . The Handmaids intent opposed the positions of the broad women’s rightist. The Handmaids had no freedom to their organic structures. Ofglen proves that she has no right to her organic structure in Gilead by her ideas of the yesteryear, “ I use to believe of my organic structure as an instrument of pleasance, a agency of transit, or an implement for the achievement of my will ” ( Atwood 73 ) . Ofglen ‘s memories were a sense of yearning and she even expressed her desire for the past to return, “ I want everything back, the manner it was ” ( Atwood 122 ) . Ofglen ‘s desires of the past show that she supports freedom of adult females and because Atwood intentionally wrote The Handmaid ‘s Tale in this point of position, one could deduce she was besides for adult females ‘s rights.
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Yet, if the point of position would hold been that of a Wife, or an Aunt, the reader would hold seen positions in favour of the Republic of Gilead ‘s actions. Though Wifes did non hold the privileges like the work forces, they still had many benefits. Wifes could see other Wifes, work on their gardens and knit when they pleased. Wifes besides still held on to something most adult females did non hold, their hubby. Serena Joy, Ofglen ‘s Commander ‘s married woman, was boundlessly happy that she was married to her hubby, “ ‘It ‘s one of the things we fought foraˆ¦she was looking down at her knuckled, diamond studded handaˆ¦ ” ( Atwood 16 ) . Wifes had the most freedoms of all the adult females in Gilead, therefore if Atwood wrote The Handmaid ‘s Tale from a Wife ‘s point of position, the Wife would more likely be more accepting of their environment.
The Aunt ‘s functions in Gilead were to force the Handmaid ‘s into believing that the “ old yearss ” ( Atwood 121 ) were bad and the new universe of Gilead was giving more respect toward adult females. During Ofglen ‘s clip in the Red Center ( instruction centre for Handmaid ‘s ) a docudrama was shown to the Handmaid ‘s of “ Women kneeling, sucking phalluss or guns, adult females tied up or chained or with dog neckbands around their cervixs… adult females being raped, crush up, or killed ” ( Atwood 118 ) . The paperss were used to carry the Handmaids that the Republic of Gilead was better than the past. Aunt Lydia said after a docudrama, “ See the alternativesaˆ¦ You see what things used to be like? ” ( Atwood 118 ) . The Aunts were already for the revolution and alterations of adult females ‘s rights in Gilead, they were for antifeminist values. Therefore if the point of position were of that an Aunt, the reader would hold seen actions and ideas in favour of adult females holding no rights. Yet no affair the point of position, every adult female had limitations.
Handmaids had more limitations than any other group of adult females in The Handmaid ‘s Tale. Talking publically was limited among Handmaids. When run intoing another Handmaid, Ofglen responded robotically, “ ‘Blessed be the fruit. ‘ she said to me, the recognized salutation among us. ‘May the Lord open ‘ , I answer, the recognized response. ” ( Atwood 19 ) . And those who were Handmaid ‘s could non even use their birth names, ‘Ofglen ‘ and ‘Ofwarren ‘ were taken by these adult females upon their entry into a family of a specific commanding officer ( Atwood 306 ) . Not holding occupations or having belongings was a limitation on every adult female in Gilead. Ofglen recalls the twenty-four hours when she could no longer work, “ ‘I have to allow you travel ‘ , [ the manager ] said. ‘It ‘s the lawaˆ¦ ‘ ” ( Atwood 176 ) . Reading and composing were purely forbidden among adult females besides. In the novel, Ofglen came in contact with a pillow that read: FAITH. Just by reading those letters, fright rose in Ofglen, “ If I were to be caught reading it, would it number? ” ( Atwood 57 ) . Books and magazines were non even allowed in Gilead. During a visit to the Commander ‘s room, he offered Ofglen a magazine. Though Ofglen ached for the magazine she replied, “ It is non permitted ” ( Atwood 157 ) . And nil in Gilead was purposefully labeled by composing but depicted by a image. Like many of the limitations “ the prohibition of reading and authorship in The Handmaid ‘s Tale is one of the steps to forestall the ‘privilege ‘ of objectiveness from acquiring into the custodies of adult females ” ( Klarer ) . Men believed they were superior and deserved the privileges that adult females were restricted. The male ‘s self-importance is what lead adult females to lose their freedom.
Work force ‘s power reigns throughout The Handmaid ‘s Tale. The advantages of a extremely developed text-processing civilization give the work forces of Gilead an advantage over adult females ( Klarer ) . Because adult females could merely see marks and non text is a mean of documenting the work forces ‘s ownership and power ( Klarer ) . Yet the adult male did non hold to keep a particular place in society to hold power over the adult females. During an test to the physician, Ofglen rejected the physician ‘s offer of sex and worried of the effects, “ He could forge the trial, describe me for canceraˆ¦have me shipped away to the settlements, with the Unwomenaˆ¦but the cognition of his power bents however in the airaˆ¦ ” ( Atwood 61 ) . Antifeminist believe all work forces are superior and adult females should be slaves of work forces, which is the ground Atwood made the laterality a major function. The Wifes are enslaved to their hubby and the Handmaid ‘s are enslaved to their Commander ‘s. But no adult females in Gilead can get away a peculiar captivity, which is the authorities, ran entirely by work forces.
Margaret Atwood uses point of position, limitations and work forces ‘s power to demo favour toward feminist values. By utilizing Ofglen as the storyteller, Atwood was able to show a adult females non being in control of her ain organic structure. The limitations of every adult female in Gilead represent the freedom each adult female does non hold. Last, the work forces ‘s power shows the hierarchy of work forces over adult females. The Handmaid ‘s Tale inquiries the intervention of adult females in any epoch in hopes that adult females will be treated every bit to work forces and it is up to the reader to reply.