Importance Of Racial And Sexual Intolerance In The Handmaid's Tale

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In Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the reader is introduced into a futuristic, dystopian society that is built on the remnants of the United States, called Gilead. Throughout the novel, Atwood uses satire to mock and warn the United States of the danger in the strongly held political opinions in the 1980’s, when the book was written. Atwood extrapolates the ideas to their extremes, showing the danger of their acceptance. The absurdity and outrageousness of her exaggerations give the novel a warning tone to the reader that these conservative principles must be rethought and abandoned. Atwood satirizes conservative beliefs through her intense exaggeration of religious intolerance, divided women, and racial and sexual intolerance. ¬ Throughout …show more content…
Early in the novel, we learn that Gilead is not only sexist but racist. The creators of the society desire an all-white civilization with Neo-Puritan values. One night, during the news broadcast, the reader is made aware of the racism in the society when a report regarding the removal of blacks is read by the anchor. “’Resettlement of the Children of Ham is continuing on schedule,’ says the reassuring pink face, back on the screen. ‘Three thousand have arrived this week in National Homeland One, with another two thousand in transit.’ ... Lord knows what they’re supposed to do, once they get there. Farm, is the theory” (Atwood 93). The removal of a group of people by their race or ethnicity is a considerable problem today with our current president’s administration. Like the government of Gilead, the current administration desires to deport residents who “don’t belong”. Gilead is possibly a glimpse into the future if people begin to be deported based off their cultural backgrounds. Sexism is ubiquitous in the novel due to their restriction to the home. The founders of Gilead share beliefs with many politicians in the early United States regarding the woman’s place. The cult of domesticity was a belief held by many that a woman had control only over the house. She was tasked with cooking, cleaning and overall management. In The Handmaid’s Tale, Aunts, Marthas, Econowives and Handmaids all tend to these responsibilities. With the new society, most women lose their old names and are given new ones that correspond to their niche. Aunts are given the title to assure their training authority over the other women. Handmaids are given the name of their owner. Offred’s owner is named Fred, so her Gilead name is Offred. “My name isn’t Offred, I have another name, which nobody uses now because it’s forbidden”(Atwood 93). Women are demeaned into property, similarly to the treatment of blacks in the

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