What Is The Destruction Of Sex In The Handmaid's Tale

826 Words 4 Pages
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a novel with thought-provoking storytelling which allows for powerful ideas and themes to be bred. The story takes place with the overthrowing of the democratic government in the alternative future United States (called Gilead), bringing about a new, totalitarian regime to replace it. The protagonist, Offred, finds herself in an bizarre position as a handmaid trying to survive her new life. In this new society, it is widely agreed among the upper echelon that the handmaids have been given much more than what was taken away by the regime. The linguistic oppression, destruction of sexuality, and essentially being owned as slaves make a strong case for the opposite being true. The patriarchal and oppressive …show more content…
Gilead was completely intent of separating sexuality from the act of sex itself. Gays and lesbians were executed, pornography and sexual clothing were destroyed and abortion doctors were murdered. “The men wear white coats, like those worn by doctors” (Atwood 41). Abortion doctors were put to execution for trying to prevent births, which no woman would ever think of doing in Gilead. Gilead saw sex only as a means to produce children without any ulterior motives. Cora said “If I hadn’t got my tubes tied, it could have been me… it’s not what you’d call hard work” (Atwood 11). Cora calling it work is an important part of the quote which is saying that Offred’s job is solely to reproduce. This is shown with the handmaids, since they only wore clothes that covered their entire body to reduce sexuality in society to an absolute minimum. Sexuality being removed, the women in society were almost completely devoid of feeling and sexual gratification. Having sex to produce without any sexual implications paved the way to be completely restricted …show more content…
The females of Gilead are completely oppressed and under the control of the men. The situation is very reminiscent of fundamentalist groups around the world today, who take the scriptures word as law. This restriction is also very familiar to slavery in early 1800’s. Women in Gilead are essentially owned as property of the men in society. “Women can’t hold property anymore” (Atwood 224). This was one of the clear signs that things were changing for the worst. Men were going to own all of the women’s property and soon, women. The consequences of not following the one who owns you is getting sent to the colonies, which is getting sent to a place to die from radiation or starvation. “Go to the Colonies, Rita said… With the Unwomen, and starve to death and Lord knows what all? said Cora” (Atwood 11). The mental strain that this has on some women forces them to end their own lives. Sometimes, they end their own lives on the basis that they at least have some power over something in their

Related Documents