The Handmaid's Tale Argument For Women

Decent Essays
In today’s world, women have the right to express themselves freely. Women are able to dress how they desire, acquire any occupation they want, express their opinions in any way they wish, and have sexual/romantic relations with whomever they yearn for. However, what if society was the complete opposite? What if women lived in a world where their minds and bodies were controlled by the government and could not freely express themselves? In The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, the author depicts a world where women are repressed and stripped of their freedom. In this totalitarian society named Gilead, the people have reverted to the biblical historic ways that women lead. In the novel, women are not allowed to express or have a creative thought, …show more content…
She has no control over her body, and she has no say in who she must have sexual relations with. Offred describes herself and the other handmaids as “containers” further explaining that “it’s only the inside of their bodies that are important” (Atwood 96). The society of Gilead practices this outrageous act because the birthrates have fallen due to the collapse of the government and the ongoing war. “It was after the catastrophe, when they shot the president and machine-gunned the Congress and the army declared a state of emergency” (Atwood 174). Gilead derives the use of handmaids from the Book of Genesis. Jacob’s wife, Rachel, could not produce a child, so they received a handmaid named Bilhah to aid in conceiving a child for them. Because of the handmaid’s use in the bible, the people of Gilead believe it to be a right and just way of living for those who can produce children. The handmaids either silence their opinions and function under Gilead or be sent away to the Colonies to clear up toxic waste and suffer the chance of dying. The people of Gilead do not see it as stripping away the women’s freedom; instead, Aunt Lydia goes on to say, “There is more than one kind of freedom...Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don't underrate it” (Atwood 24). The freedom from that Aunt Lydia is describing is the freedom from the sex-driven males …show more content…
The handmaids are not allowed to have romantic relations with their Commanders or another male because it was against the law for handmaids. Offred says, “What I feel towards them is blankness. What I feel is that I must not feel” (Atwood 42). The women are also controlled by their language and writing. The women are not allowed to read or write, so Gilead uses symbols in replace of words and use voice recordings instead of reading from a book. The women also use a language that takes away their freedom of speech and dehumanizes them. The women use words such as “blessed be the fruit”, “may the Lord open”, and “praise be” (Atwood 19). The women have monotonous conversations with no imagination and creativity allowed. The women of Gilead are also not allowed to have any choice in the way they dressed. They all dressed according to their status. Offred describes seeing the Japanese tourists and feeling “fascinated, but repelled” (Atwood 38). She then reminisces on the times when she use to dress the same way. Offred goes on to say, “They seem undressed. It has taken so little time to change our minds, about things like this. Then I think: I used to dress like that. That was freedom. Westernized, they used to call it” (Atwood 38). Offred remembers the pre-Gilead times and how long ago it seems to have been. Aunt Lydia tells Offred, “Ordinary…is what you are used to. This may not

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