Passive Women In The Handmaid's Tale

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Each and every one of the citizens who inhabit the Republic of Gilead are obligated to be passive in the novel The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, however women have it worse since they no longer possess any economic or social control. The Aunts at the Red Center are exempt, but even they are subject to restrictions. In order to endure in the Republic of Gilead, characters have to be clean slates. They have to be willing to take on different names and go where they're told. They can't protest if their kids are taken away from them or cry over their loved ones' miserable fates. Acting out, even by doing something as apparently innocuous as reading, results in ruthless punishment or even death. The narrator is able to live indirectly through…show more content…
Offred’s base level of dignity has truly sunken in a belittling position. Since everyone views her as "merely empty," when a man sees her as anything more, she can't help feeling something for him, even if the way he sees her carries an additional host of problems. The narrator is in danger no matter what she does. Even if this woman is passive, sooner or later impulse will come to shove and she'll encounter her life at risk. So this is an argument for doing, to some degree, rather than being entirely passive. One of the things that worries Offred most is the change in Moira. Formerly rebellious, she now seems passive, talking with "indifference" and "a lack of volition." (Atwood, 52). This entire time, it seems, Offred has been able not to act because she believed in Moira's potential for action. The passive behavior of people of the Republic of Gilead in this dystopian future is a hazard to society because no one feels the need to stand up against unjust treatment and it eventually becomes the norm, making every individual to live in an idle state and question their…show more content…
When Offred and Ofglen are standing by the Wall, observing the bodies of people who have been hanged by Gilead, the sight horrifies Offred, but she strains to push away her repugnance and substitute an emotional void. As she suppresses her natural revulsion, she recalls Aunt Lydia’s words about how life in Gilead will come to be: “Ordinary is what you are used to. This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time it will. It will become ordinary” (Atwood, 34). Aunt Lydia’s statement reveals the supremacy of a totalitarian state like Gilead to transform a natural human reaction such as repulsion at an execution into emptiness, to transform horror into normality. Aunt Lydia’s words propose that Gilead thrives not by making people believe that its conducts are correct, but by making people forget what a different world could be like. Tyranny and torment then become accepted since they are what one is used

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