The Handmaid's Tale By Margaret Atwood

609 Words3 Pages
Atwood, who is best known for her challenging and powerful themes, explains how women were portrayed in the mid 1980’s in the western world. This feminist dystopian fiction examines the cultural construction of female identity, language and historical memory. She does this through her creation of strong yet vulnerable female characters, producing a vivid set of possibilities for the women in The Handmaid’s Tale. Women are treated as political and societal instruments; they were both necessary to create a totalitarian society, but are also just there to be materials and have no real purpose. Despite all of Gilead’s pro-women rhetoric, such subjugation creates a society in which women are treated as subhuman and animal-like. They are reduced to their fertility, treated as…show more content…
Gilead seeks to deprive women of their individuality in order to make them docile carriers of the next generation, by grouping them in terms of what part they could play in this rather stifled society. From an early stage in the novel, the social hierarchy of women are shown in The Handmaid’s Tale dependent on a particular colour of clothing they wore. For example, some women dressed in red, “some in the dull green of the Marthas, some in the striped dresses, red and blue and green”. Not only were women more or less colour-coded: blue Wives, red Handmaids and green Marthas, but their sense of individuality was completely stripped away too. There was no gender equality with respect to women’s rights and responsibilities in the State of Gilead. Men were considered superior human beings who had a higher social and political position to that of women i.e. hierarchically. Women occupied a lower position to men, whilst they were discriminated upon because of their gender. Men saw this as a gateway to oppressed and repressed women, and as such the rights and responsibilities of women in the
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