Security And Freedom In The Handmaid's Tale By Margaret Atwood

994 Words 4 Pages
Most people would agree that security and freedom are ideas that are necessary in life, with security comes freedom and vice versa, but in The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, it seems as though there is one or the other. During the Gileadean period, the women are supposed to feel more secure than they ever had, but the women felt no sense of security or freedom. The men had dominance over the women. In the book, gender portrayed what type of life you will live. How someone would live in society and how their standard of living would be is directly depended on whether they were male or female. Unlike men, women were faced with many difficulties, a few of those difficulties included to not be able to read and write. The Republic of Gilead …show more content…
The women’s bodies and their ability to reproduce were worshiped by society and crimes against women had vanished. There no longer existed rape or violence against women. There were many laws placed to keep from any violence actions against women. The sumptuary laws were laws that told women how they would dress, “There are other women with baskets, some in red, some in the dull green of the Marthas, some in the stripped dresses, red and blue and green and cheap and skimp, that mark the women of the poorer men. Econowives, they’re called. These women are not divided into functions. They have to do everything; if they can” (Atwood 24). The narrator describes the dress code for the women, which described the roles of the women in the society. Women in blue were the wives of the commanders, women in red were the handmaids, and women in green were the marthas. All women except econowives were divided by their function in the society. The women were stripped of their individuality. Men on the other hand did not have much of a dress code. There were the commanders and the eyes. The commanders had control of the wives and the handmaid’s in the house. The eyes had control over everyone. They had the to send anyone away who did not comply with the law. The sumptuary laws showed how gender plays a big role in what kind of life you will live in the …show more content…
There were laws placed that were originally made to worship a woman’s body but women felt their bodies were something to fear and hide. Women like Offred feel more enslaved to the idea of being “protected” rather than being protected. She stated, “Now the flesh arranges itself differently. I’m a cloud, congealed around a central object, the shape of a pear, which is hard and more real than I am and glows red within its translucent wrapping” (Atwood 73). Offred talks about how the body that once was hers is no longer hers and no longer matters. In eyes of the society her body is only important because of her womb, which can bear a child. Offred has given into the oppressing from the Republic of Gilead. She has accepted the attitude from society that treats women not as individuals but as objects only important for the children that they can bear. The society has dehumanized women to, as Offred said, “a cloud, congealed around a central object, the shape of a pear, which is hard and more real than I am” (Atwood 73). A society such as this, is defined as having a basis on protecting women, truly, does not. The women in the novel are told that they are important and more intuitive than men but at the same time told that men cannot control themselves when around women. These women had to fear for their lives and their bodies and sneak around men.

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