The Handmaid's Tale Essays

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23 essay samples found

Symbolism of Freedom in the Handmaid’s Tale

Symbolism of Freedom in The Handmaid’s Tale         The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, is written through a lens that entails a nightmare of inequality, oppression, violence, and ignorance towards women resulting in the loss of freedom for women. This is presented through a dystopian society, the republic of Gilead, where freedom for women is […]

Pages: 4 Words: 1287 Topics: Feminism, Gender Equality, Sex, Social Institutions, The Handmaid's Tale, Women's Rights

Argumentative Essay on the Handmaids Tale

The handmaid’s tale is an imaginary novel written by Margaret Atwood a Canadian author. The novel was published in the year 1985 and was set in the New England where the Christian supremacist overthrows the United States government. The novel is a two faced or a double narrative reflecting on the night and other events, […]

Pages: 6 Words: 1651 Topics: Feminism, Gender Equality, Gender, Role of Women, Sex, The Handmaid's Tale, Women's Rights
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Handmaids Tale and Persepolis Comparison

In the present society everything is dependent on religion. Both The Handmaid’s Story, which was composed somewhere in the range of 1980 and 1986, and Persepolis, which was additionally composed somewhere in the range of 2000 and 2002, enables the peruser to find out about a general public dependent on religion. The two written works […]

Pages: 2 Words: 687 Topics: Culture, Human Nature, Persepolis, The Handmaid's Tale

Oppressed Women in Handmaid’s Tale

Handmaid’s Tale written by Margaret Atwood shows us unique aspects about the women who live in Gilead, the two different types of women in which Atwood mentions are  unique, which are  the Handmaids and the Martha’s. These two different groups of women are not allowed to read because Gilead imposes a illiteracy on the female […]

Pages: 2 Words: 570 Topics: The Handmaid's Tale

Luke Impact on Offred’s Life

It is only when everything one loves is taken away, that a person is able to appreciate what they once had. In the Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, the narrator must learn this the hard way. The novel takes place in a futuristic society, known as the Republic of Gilead. This city was created after […]

Pages: 9 Words: 2629 Topics: The Handmaid's Tale

Development of the Theme by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood tells the story of a handmaid called Offred living in the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian and theocratic state that has replaced the United States of America, in her novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. In the theocratic Republic of Gilead, extreme conservative, religious ideology is followed a solution to societal problems. Doctors who performed […]

Pages: 3 Words: 843 Topics: Human Sexuality, The Handmaid's Tale

Gender Inequality in the Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale         Inequality is an occurring problem and Margaret Atwood is describing what she feels our country will turn into. Every time there is a step forward for equality to take two steps back. In Gilead, women’s obligation is obedience after transitioning from a time of extreme liberalism to radical religion. Women being […]

Pages: 5 Words: 1593 Topics: The Handmaid's Tale

Identity and Female Power in the Handmaids Tale

Television has played an integral role in globalizing the world and shaping the thoughts, ideas and perspectives of the people in it. Many argue that television generalizes women in a sexualized and objectified way, portraying them as subordinate humans that are dependent on men, all while being sexualized and stereotyped to unrealistic standards of character […]

Pages: 10 Words: 2893 Topics: The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale: Novel about Totalitarian Government

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a novel that about a totalitarian government in the Republic of Gilead that takes over the United States because the United States was experiencing low levels of reproduction. Gilead is led by the power of males. Women are oppressed and have no power or say in things. The […]

Pages: 5 Words: 1436 Topics: Gender, Human Sexuality, Sex, The Handmaid's Tale

Handmaids Tale Literacy Analysis

In the story, The Handmaid’s Story by Margaret Atwood the city of Gilead debilitates ladies from multiple points of view. Compelling sex upon them, anticipating that they should deal with their life partner and family, and giving them next to zero political power. All through the novel she explicitly indicates instances of the poor treatment […]

Pages: 4 Words: 1264 Topics: The Handmaid's Tale

Handmaids Tale and Persepolis Comparison

In the present society everything is dependent on religion. Both The Handmaid’s Story, which was composed somewhere in the range of 1980 and 1986, and Persepolis, which was additionally composed somewhere in the range of 2000 and 2002, enables the peruser to find out about a general public dependent on religion. The two written works […]

Pages: 2 Words: 687 Topics: Culture, Human Nature, Persepolis, The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale Literature Analysis

Margaret Atwood evolves feminist focused literature with her novel Handmaid’s Tale, empowering an unconventional development of a dynamic female character, Offred. Instead of portraying the oppression of women in a static manner, she parallels the unequal distribution of power between men and women of modern society through representation of the extreme totalitarian government, Gilead. The […]

Pages: 3 Words: 767 Topics: Feminism, Gender Equality, Human Nature, The Handmaid's Tale, Women's Rights

The Handmaid’s Tale Literary Analysis

The Handmaid’s Tale happens in Cambridge, MA, explicitly the Harvard territory, outside Boston, a city in what used to be in the United States, now called the Republic of Gilead. In this tragic future, where we as a rule discover a general public that has a wide range of wrong, the fair government has been […]

Pages: 4 Words: 1324 Topics: Culture, Human Nature, Innovation, Social Institutions, The Handmaid's Tale

Woman Role in the Handmaid’s Tal

Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is set in a dystopic and totalitarian society called Gilead, formed in response to the crisis caused by decreasing birthrates and, consequently, with one main goal: total control of reproduction. Therefore, the state intercepts the problem head-on by assuming complete control of women’s bodies through their politics supported by religious […]

Pages: 3 Words: 948 Topics: Feminism, Gender Equality, Social Issues, The Handmaid's Tale, Women's Rights

Gender Roles in ‘A Handmaids Tale’

The concept of gender is one that has been a heated topic for many years. There are many different theories on what gender is, and how it should be used and treated in society. Judith Butler argues in her piece “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution” that gender is not something that one is born with, […]

Pages: 4 Words: 1304 Topics: Culture, Feminism, Gender, Human Nature, The Handmaid's Tale

An Oppressive System in the Handmaid’s Tale

The person who once tweeted , “I have no limits”, was limited by a maximum of 140 characters. Language is helpful and restraining at the same time, for instance, when defining words. It is widely known that several aspects of life are too complex to express them into words, especially when regarding social constructs, such […]

Pages: 9 Words: 2837 Topics: Human Nature, Masculinity, The Handmaid's Tale

Sexism in the Handmaid’s Tale

Our society, presents an extreme example of misogyny and sexism by featuring the complete objectification of women in the society in which we live in. Our society highlighting the inequality of women in our society now and the and the era that follows it. Our society demonstrates that misogyny and sexism are deeply embedded in […]

Pages: 7 Words: 2153 Topics: Feminism, Human Nature, Sexism, The Handmaid's Tale, Women's Rights

The Influence of Handmaid’s Tale

It is only when everything one loves is taken away, that a person is able to appreciate what they once had. In the Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, the narrator must learn this the hard way. The novel takes place in a futuristic society, known as the Republic of Gilead. This city was created after […]

Pages: 9 Words: 2669 Topics: Culture, Human Nature, Love, The Handmaid's Tale

Alienation in Handmaid’s Tale

In this dystopian book “The Handmaid’s Tale”, by the writer, Margaret Atwood looks for the outcome of the situation in which females have no absolute rights whatsoever All women’s rights in this book are taken away from the women.The ladies in The book “Handmaid’s Tale” are abused in every manageable from, most patyicyulary through of […]

Pages: 3 Words: 1023 Topics: Ethics, Human Nature, The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale Thesis Analysis

Thesis: In “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Margaret Atwood critiques blind faith and allegiance to ideology by using methods of allusions, symbols, and religious language to convey how the balance and shift of power of roles plays a significant part in a society. In Offred’s previous life with Luke, her husband, she has a job in a […]

Pages: 3 Words: 816 Topics: Culture, Ethics, Human Nature, The Handmaid's Tale

Women Portrait in the Handmaid’s Tale

In Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale, there is a strong prevalence of feminism. Atwood uses the feminist ideals in the book to lead to another theme in the book, language. Throughout the book, Atwood discusses how under the new government women are unable to learn how to read and write, and can only speak in certain […]

Pages: 4 Words: 1159 Topics: Culture, Feminism, Human Nature, Social Issues, The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale: Analytical Essay

Whether or not it is expressly acknowledged, gender and sexuality play a significant role in society and culture. Men and women are both part of the human race; almost biologically identical. So what marks the distinction between the two? Gender and gender roles provide arbitrary generalizations of conventional femininity and masculinity, with roles essentially assigned […]

Pages: 6 Words: 1692 Topics: Culture, Feminism, Gender Roles, Human Nature, The Handmaid's Tale

Utopian World at the Handmaids Tale

The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood describes the utopian world in which the life of women revolved around the moral acts of giving birth to children and the scheduled monthly intercourse. It depicts the authoritarianism world made after the United States government was overthrown and turned into the Republic of Gilead. The goal of the […]

Pages: 3 Words: 956 Topics: Fiction, Human Nature, Love, The Handmaid's Tale

Essay About The Handmaid’s Tale

Margaret Atwood’s acclaimed novel The Handmaid’s Tale is a thought-provoking dystopia that points out the subjugated condition of women under patriarchal dominance. Atwood stresses the “loss of female identity in a male-dominated society” (Sahu). The Handmaid’s Tale follows the journey of the protagonist, Offred, an inhabitant of the totalitarian society of Gilead. The future state is a totalitarian dictatorship in which women are oppressed and their status is determined by their reproductive capabilities. Thus, the novel portrays both the “emotional and physical marginalization of women” in a totalitarian regime (Sahu).

Many facets of marginalization are present within The Handmaid’s Tale. Not only is gender marginalization prevalent within the novel―that is, women subjugated by men―but, Atwood also discusses the intersection of marginalized identities. Women being disparaged by their own through social hierarchies, a notion often overlooked or neglected in society. Within The Handmaid’s Tale, language and social constructs are used to represent the plight of women’s marginalization or subjugation under male dominance, also portraying how handmaids are further oppressed within the female power dynamics in Gilead.

The most obvious example of the marginalization of women within the novel is the power imbalance between men and women. The social hierarchy between the genders is a vital element of the marginalization of women in Gilead. The hierarchy is constructed in such a way that power and dominance are ascribed to men, and women are marginalized as subordinates. Men are placed socially politically and economically above women. While they hold positions of power such as government officials, security, etc. The female characters are solely presented as child-bearers and laborers in Gilead.

Furthermore, the Commanders undoubtedly carry the largest amount of power in Gilead, and their wives’ power within the female dynamics in the novel only exists because of their connection to a Commander. While the Wife holds the most power in relation to other female positions in Gilead, a Commander’s Wife is only allowed to make decisions which her husband approves of, and can only exercise her power at home, thus, depicting that her power is relative to her husband’s position (Stein). Wives like most women in the novel are completely silenced within the governmental and political spheres of Gilead. Furthermore, the social hierarchy between men is more flexible than that of women. Men can move between ranks: from Guardian to Angel and may be able to obtain a wife. Women, in contrast, are fixed in their roles as Handmaids, Marthas, or Wives. Portraying how, even in gender-specific hierarchies, men are given more power and autonomy than women. Therefore the power dynamics between men and women depict how the rights and freedoms of females in Gilead are largely excluded.

Women are further marginalized within the society of Gilead through their lack of identity. Each women is defined by a specific biological, role that is associated with being a women. Furthermore colour coded clothing is used to differentiate between the social classes and by doing so women’s individuality in the novel is effaced. The handmaids wear long cloaks and everything except for white bonnets or wings is red. Similarly, Wives wear blue and Martha’s wear green (Atwood, 33). Lois Feuer refers to the “color-coded clothing as a ‘submersion of the self’ and thus the loss of identity is an ever present threat” (Kirkvik). This lack of individuality brought about by categorization, distinguishes the different “types” of woman from each other, in turn silencing their voices, restricting their identity and discouraging individuality.

Furthermore the less apparent form of marginalisation in the novel is within the hierarchy of women. The men of Gilead maintain control of power by pitting women against one another. In fact one could argue women in the novel police and silence each other more than men. In the earlier chapters we find Aunt Lydia explaining to the handmaids that “to be seen…is to be penetrated. What you must be, girls, is impenetrable” (Atwood 39). Aunt Lydia’s “modesty is invisibility” comment further adds to the idea of women marginalising or silencing other women within the text. Aunt Lydia perpetuates the notion that handmaids are sexual objects. Being seen is equated with “penetration” or being desirable, insinuating that women have the choice between being a sexual object for men or invisible altogether. The act of women oppressing and silencing other women works to uphold the patriarchy perpetuated by the men in the novel. Characters like Serena Joy illustrate how their experience of being marginalized also makes them the abuser of women in the social and economic classes beneath them. Turning a blind eye to the abuse of the commanders only works to further fuel the marginalization of women.

Lastly, other than the “unwomen” handmaids are the most silenced and excluded group within the text, lacking basic rights and freedoms. Handmaids cannot “write, read, have friends, ask questions, or be concerned with their appearance” (Kirkvik). Gilead reduces them to “containers”, “two legged wombs”, and “ambulatory chalices”, having no importance or relevance apart from their reproductive abilities. Offered perceives herself as completely isolated from the people around her. On a personal level, she feels alienated from those with whom she is intimately involved. On a public level, she feels marginalized and politically dispossessed. Part of this subjugation is born from a lack of identity, which Atwood portrays by leaving the protagonist unnamed (Callaway). Instead handmaids take on the names of their commanders. Further emphasizing that handmaids are reproductive objects and property of their commanders.

Throughout The Handmaid’s Tale the marginalization and silencing of women is prevalent not only due to the patriarchal society and the men within it but also due to other women. Gender roles and constructs perpetuated by society, the lack of female identity, objectification and the silencing of women all contribute such marginalization. 

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