The Role Of Feminism In The Handmaid's Tale

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In the story The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, the United States has fallen apart. It is now the Republic of Gilead and women have lost everything. They are stripped of their money, freedoms like being able to read, family, and they can no longer work. Fertility rates have decreased, and women are blamed for it. Women who are fertile are taken to the Red Center, where they are trained on how to be a handmaid. Women are assigned to bear children for the commanders. The commanders are high ranking officials in Gilead. Offred, the main character in the story is separated from her daughter and her husband Luke. She is assigned to a commander and is forced to be in that patriarchal society. The overarching theme most prevalent in The Handmaid’s Tale is that of power. This hierarchal struggle also highlights the feminist critical theory through symbolism and events in the novel. Throughout the …show more content…
Offred has no power on the orders the commander gives her. When he sends Nick to tell him that he wants to see her, she has no option but to go see the commander. If she refuses to see him it can be “worse. There’s no doubt about who holds the real power” (136). If she goes to see him and gets caught she can get killed, but if she refuses she can also get killed. On the other hand, she also has some control. For example, in the novel, Offred gains control over the commander when she starts meeting with him in secret. She mentions, “It’s difficult for me to believe I have power over him, of any sort, but I do” (210). She manipulates him into getting her material things like hand lotion, which he puts in an unlabeled plastic bottle. Moreover, lets her read magazines, play Scrabble, and search up words in the dictionary. All these actions are prohibited in Gilead, but he still lets her because she has influence over

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