The Handmaids Tale

Essay by jwirthHigh School, 11th grade February 2004

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The Freedom's of a Society

In a society where women have freedom, they are usually susceptible to murder, rape, and other abuse. One way, to guarantee such torment does not go on, is to observe the women at all times. If women are kept secluded and monitored, the government can essentially guarantee that the females in their country are safe. The latter is the setup of the Gileadean society in Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale. Women have no rights. They are assigned their ranking (social class) and told what to do. They may not read or write, and if they are not able to reproduce they are punished. Offred, the main character, and narrator of the novel, is a Handmaid. This means she must do the shopping for her "household". She must also have intercourse with the Commander, who 'owns' her, in order to increase the population of Gilead.

All of the people in Gilead are unhappy , even the men, who are supposed to benefit from the new setup. The only people who find the new system adequate are those who run the government. They of course, are pleased with the setup, and even if they were not, to admit their dissatisfaction, would be acknowledging defeat. The Aunts, are women who are designated to prepare other women, to be Handmaids. Even though the Aunts don't like the new society, they are required to say it is better than the previous way of life. The Aunts, admit that the new society will be hard for the current generation because they are haunted by the memories of having "freedom to". After that they claim, no one will know life any other way, and they will just except it. Whether this statement is true or not, is...