Oppression In The Handmaid's Tale

Great Essays
In Margaret Atwood 's The Handmaid’s Tale, one is given a look into a society where women are deprived of power and live out lives of enslavement under a very strict and vigilant government. The government uses the Handmaids and other people, such as the commanders, in the society to ensure that everyone in the society is complying with its rules. The methods of Gilead’s government are absolutely archaic, “The Handmaid 's Tale brings together pre-Christian notions of absolute patriarchal authority-omniscient and avenging God” (Cooper 50). Woman have been depleted of almost all of their rights except a few domestic ones, and human fertility is so rare that individuals with “viable ovaries” (Atwood 143) are now in demand as Handmaids to bear …show more content…
This only increases the lack of sexual pleasure anyone in the community can receive. Under the enslavement of the Gilead government, sexual oppression is the means of control over everyone in the society. By this oppression and control, no one is capable of feeling any sexual pleasure. Therefore all enjoyment people can get out of sex is eliminated. This pleasure is eliminated out of resentment, envy, regret, the inability to love, and most importantly the necessity to conceive and have a child. When Offred and the Commander discuss Gilead, they also discuss the things that are wrong with it. The commander asks the question, “‘What did we overlook?’ with which Offred replies with, ‘Love’” (Atwood 220). Offred believes that with love, sexual pleasure is possible. That is why she does not have any bit of sexual pleasure with the commander. It is not possible for her to have any intimacy because she simply cannot, and will not love him. Serena also stops any form of pleasure for the two, because of how she dehumanizes Offred. With the government keeping a close eye on everyone and killing people who have sex with others, there is also the threat of them finding out about it and executing them. With the need for babies and so few women being able to have them, one can easily see how a society with dire needs to create children, can turn on itself. With this need, one can see how sexual pleasure can be disregarded for the actual necessity of conceiving a child. Also with Offred finding a sexual partner, that she is not supposed to have sex with but likes, creates an awakening for Offred. This shows her just how unbearable having sex with the commander is and, just how important intimacy,

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Women specially handmaids are treated as object in the sense that their children are taken away because the society qualifies them as unfit mothers. Serena who is also a woman has a different kind of status as a woman, then the handmaid, she orders the handmaid around and one day tells Offred that she should sleep with nick in order to get pregnant and to see the daughter she believed to be dead in a picture. Not only men abuse they’re power in this society, but also the wives who are given a little more of power by the men. Women are completely not given rights and are pressured into not rebelling against they’re government, they’re…

    • 783 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    I’ve had my own family tell me how poor my life will be if I give up sex. Others have told me that I’ll never be a true woman without having sex once. The article “Politics of Asexuality: Issues Faced by the Asexual Community” by Stormy O’Brink discusses the struggles and prejudice faced by the asexual community. In the article, Stormy states “Some people feel threatened by the idea that asexuals do not participate in the sexual world. Many view asexuals as less human or even childlike because they do not wish to become involved in an experience most believe to be universal.” Asexuals are seen by others as people who simply do not know what sex is and are simply missing out.…

    • 1069 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Well it's The Giver’s turn. The Giver has limited freedom, strict rules, controlled by authority figures, and it is a utopia/dystopia as well. The people were like completely brainwashed because everyone didn't know the obvious things like color. Some were kept from knowing certain things. If a person broke a rule they were killed “released”, no one was allowed to leave the community, and people had to “release” children because there’s a certain amount for each mother.…

    • 624 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    I won’t be your mother!” and that she had “turned into a savage” by “having young ones like an animal”. Because the Brave New World society could not accept the fact that humans could enter the world through any tube other than the test tube, the idea of a family, parents, and children were foreign and subsequently viewed as absolutely appalling. In addition, parenting was even further degraded by…

    • 1216 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The lack of intimacy expected is to prevent emotions from interfering with the job. Since “all flesh is weak,” temptations can occur and the Aunts try to teach the handmaids to “set up boundaries” (45). Emotions and intimacy are so out of relationships in the republic that even the Commander watching Offred read “is a curiously sexual act, and [she feels] undress while he does it” (184). This overt lack of physically intimacy guarantees a lack of emotional intimacy. It is an avoided discussion that humans need and long for love and intimacy.…

    • 1254 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    She herself should not have a need of sex or pleasure in that act. This is also one of the reason that makes women a mere object of giving pleasure which leads to her exploitation. A lot of women are having undesirable sex and ding nothing about it because this patriarchy has made them helpless she has no means, no ways and most importantly no confidence to say NO to it. Women consider giving pleasure to their men as an obligation instead of advancing into mutually beneficial sex session.…

    • 764 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Offred and the Commander have been having been having sex in attempt to make a baby. However, Offred fails to conceive due to Commander’s infertility and, as a result, Serena becomes very manipulative. Serena decided to tell Offred to betray the Commander and break the law by having sex with a different male named Nick. In doing so, Serena believes that Nick has a better chance of inseminating Offed and does not worry about the consequences of breaking the laws. Seeing that even one of Gilead’s privileged groups is also committing rebellious acts and going against Gilead’s rules for personal use, shows that everyone lacks their total freedom in this society.…

    • 544 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The women of Gilead are heavily oppressed, they aren’t allowed to read or write (in order to keep women ignorant and unaware), they don’t choose who they marry and their status is highly based on their reproductive abilities. In short, Gilead is a patriarchal society. The world of Gilead parallels ours in many ways, just in much more extreme ways. Though women can obviously read and write and women are more than just a reproductive system, there is still sexism going on everyday, thus I found this concept in the book very interesting and sad. I’ve thrown away childhood dreams such as being a director or an astronaut because I’ve been told “those jobs are for boys”.…

    • 708 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Mond stated that the pressures in the pipe were, “Mother, monogamy, romance … No wonder these poor pre-moderns were mad and wicked and miserable. Their world didn’t allow them to be sane, virtuous, happy” (Huxley, 41). In the World State, they do not believe in maternal love and lovers because it causes emotions, and emotions make the society unstable; thus Mond releases that pressure for the citizens, so that they do not have to suffer through emotions. The World State may not believe in the ideas of love, but in contemporary society when two people love each other, they will do whatever it takes to show their love for one another, even if it means death. In the movie, Romeo and Juliet, we see two lovers from feuding families fall in love with each other, only for it to end tragically with their deaths.…

    • 1319 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    The Rape Culture

    • 2129 Words
    • 9 Pages

    Men also lose the ability to say “no” as they are believed to have a natural drive for sex all the time. In the end this scenario also leads women to be at fault for rape, no matter what (Harding 44-46). In the world today and in the rape culture we are immersed in, people believe men are completely incapable of self-control and therefore they are entitled…

    • 2129 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Great Essays