Symbolism In The Handmaid's Tale

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In Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaids Tale, women are treated as if they are toys. In the Republic of Gilead love, equality, and disrespect are banned. For the reader, the aspect that is most pronounced is symbolism. The way Atwood shows symbolism could tell a story by itself. In the Republic of Gilead there are four major classes of people; beginning with the handmaids, the commanders, the eyes, and the wives. The republic has individual households that hold all of these classes, with handmaids being focused upon the most. The handmaids have only one purpose, and that is to conceive babies for the wives who are infertile. They are treated horribly and have no rights whatsoever. The commander is the leader of the household who has a duty to impregnate a handmaid to provide his wife with a child. Handmaids wear a number of dresses and each dress is symbolic in the part of how each handmaid is supposed to live. They dress in only two colors of dresses, white or red while the wives wear blue dresses. Early in, the reader meets the main character Offred who has a wonderful life with her husband Luke and daughter before the Republic of Gilead was …show more content…
The color white symbolizes goodness, purity, and virginity. White has a positive connotation which exposes the reason these women are handmaids is because they are pure enough to be so. Not all the handmaids are virgins which is contradicting as to why they would wear the white dress. The handmaids mostly wear white dresses when they settle in for bed, also, for praying. The way Atwood embodies the color white in the novel resembles the impact of God in the Republic of Gilead. It is confusing why the handmaids did not wear the white dresses more often than the red dresses. It would make sense if the white dresses substitute the red because, by being a handmaid, the society of Gilead is lead to believe that they are

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