Ovaries In The Handmaid's Tale

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Why would the government feel the need to take away reproductive rights from any woman? In Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, when a woman relinquishes her reproductive rights, she loses her humanity completely. Becoming a Handmaid requires losing the mind, the soul, the heart, and the person one used to be. Handmaids have lost every right “except a few narrowly defined domestic ones, and human fertility is so reduced that individuals like Offred, with ‘viable ovaries’” are left with no other option (Thomas 90). In “Women Disunited: Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale as Criticitue of Feminism” Allana Callaway concurs saying that along with losing their humanity “they are now nothing more than potentially productive ovaries” (51).…show more content…
The Commander, Fred, and his Wife Serena Joy are not physically able to have children themselves, so they use Offred for her reproductive ovaries . During the Ceremony, “Offred lies on Serena’s canopied bed, her arms restrained, and her skirt hiked up to her waist” while the Commander is having sex with her (Callaway 56-57). This is not true love at all. Offred thinks of it as just one of her monthly activities that she is required to do as a Handmaid. Offred thinks and envisions that “nothing is going on here that I haven’t signed up for. There wasn’t a lot of choice but there was some, and this is what I chose” (Atwood 94). As a Handmaid, one has no opinion. When the Ceremony is in process, Offred has to leave all her emotions behind her. “Serena . . . does not have the luxury of detachment. Her participation in the Ceremony requires her to watch her husband having sexual intercourse with another woman,” which would be taunting and devastating for Serena Joy (Callaway 57). Offred thinks to herself, “Which of us is it worse for, her or me?” (Callaway 57). Both Offred and Serena Joy are in a very dreadful position; Serena Joy wants to have a baby, but she cannot whereas Offred can have a baby, but cannot keep it. The Ceremony does not show one ounce of affection or love for Serena Joy or Offred. Instead, it is humiliating and making it very clear that the Commander controls every aspect of Offred. By giving all control to the…show more content…
Offred does not have an option but to “be forced to give up her own name and adopt a patronymic consisting of the preposition. ‘of’ and the first name of the Commander who she is temporarily assigned,” and that is how she got her Handmaid name Offred (Thomas 92). The Gilead society ventures to erase personal names and destroy the woman that they used to be, which they do precisely well. Offred does not savor the sexual relationships she has with the Commander, but she does savor the sexual relationship with Nick. Offred’s emotions are distinctly different about each one. During sexual intercourse with the Commander, Offred “closes her eyes, tries to detach her mind, and waits impatiently for the Commander to finish his business” (Thomas 93). The Commander is not necessarily mean to Offred, he just does what he has to do as a Commander, and he loves to play with her emotions. The Commander wants something more than just his Handmaid. He does not always want a sexual relationship with her but he also wants to just have fun, talk, play games and bring her out to certain places to show affection to her. It does not work for Offred, however, she has lost all of her emotions completely until Serena Joy tells her to sleep with Nick just to get pregnant, so “Offred – with Serena Joy’s connivance – literally ascends the stairs to Nick’s garage apartment in the hope that Nick will be able to impregnate her with a child” so Offred can be done

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