Feminism In The Handmaid's Tale

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The Handmaid’s Tale Through the Feminist Critical Lense What would you do if you were in a future society where you were unable to choose your own path in life? In her story, The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood creates an extreme circumstance to show the inequality between men and women in our current society. Several themes from the story make it a good fit to be viewed through the feminist critical theory lense, including: the role of women in the society, women’s sexuality, and relationships between women. Canadian author Margaret Atwood has gained popularity over the years since she first started writing stories, eventually publishing more than forty works (Atwood “Biography”). A theme among several of these tales is of oppressive governments where the populations have the rights to think for themselves stripped away. In a New York Times article titled “Margaret Atwood on What ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Means in the Age of …show more content…
One of the main examples of this is women’s role in society. The audience learns through Offred’s memories that the new society began with one law; a law that prevented women from owning property and having a job outside of the home. This is a return to earlier American policies where only men could have jobs and have their name on property. The one role women are supposed to have is bearing children. Throughout the story, this theme is used very often, to both praise the Handmaids on their ability to do what they are “supposed” to do, and shame those women who are unable to fulfil their role in society. However, in the society of Gilead, it is somewhat unclear what the actual place of the Handmaids is in this new society. In one instance, Offred mentions, “On first days we are permitted front doors, but after that we’re supposed to use the back. Things haven’t settled down, it’s too soon, everyone is unsure about our exact status.”

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