The Handmaids Tale Feminist Analysis

Feminist Theory within The Handmaid’s Tale
Feminist criticism is a literary approach that seeks to distinguish the female human experience from the male human experience. Feminist critics draw attention to the ways in which patriarchal social structures purloined women while male authors have capitalized women in their portrayal of them. Feminism and feminist criticism did not gain recognition until the late 1960’s and 1970’s(maybe add citation here of where you found this info). Instead is was a reestablishment of old traditions of action and thought already consisting its classic books which distinguished the problem of women’s inequality in society. In the 1970’s, The Second Wave of Feminism occurred known as Gynocriticism, which was pioneered
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With this being said, males have complete control over how The Republic operates, the women are restrained in all ways possible without any freedom of choice or independence. In many ways Atwood’s writing exhibits what Christopher Jones identifies as a “reinvigorated hatred of women and the explosive growth of religious (patriarchal) fundamentalism” (Callaway 5). This is evident in a scene where Offred is describes the controlled household in which she resides. “I wait, for the household to assemble. Household: that is what we are. The Commander is the head of the household. The house is what he holds. To have and to hold, till death do us part” (Atwood 81).” The women of the household and within Gilead suffer from an extreme lack of freedom. They are not permitted to lock their doors, must wear a uniform, and the handmaid’s names are specifically changed to the name of the Commander with ‘of’ in front signifying the Commander’s ownership over her. This is important because early on in the novel Offred ponders the past and thinks about when she had her own given name, which can be represented as the life she used to have but does not any longer. Although she never revealed her real name, that name is of great significance to her. “My name isn’t Offred, I have another name, which nobody uses now because it’s forbidden” (Atwood 84). Striping the handmaid’s of their real names and naming them after the Commander’s they live with takes away their individuality and essentially their identities. This also makes them feel unimportant and as if their existence relies on the Commander’s they are working for. Names are not just the word for who she was but her name was her identity. Granted there have been Offreds before, that identity has nothing to do with her as an individual. However, it is clear that she does not see herself as Of-Fred: she does not

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