Handmaid Essay, Research Paper

The Handmaid’s Tale

This is a futuristic novel that takes place in northern USA sometime in the beginning of

the twenty-first century, in the oppressive and totalitarian Republic of Gilead. The

regime demands high moral, retribution and a virtuous lifestyle. The Bible is the guiding

principle. As a result of the sexual freedom, free abortion and a high increase of

venereal diseases at the end of the twentieth century, many women, (and men also,

but that is forbidden to say), are sterile. The women, who are still fertile, are recruited

as Handmaids, and their only mission in life is to give birth to the offspring of their

Commander, whose wife is infertile.

The main character in the book is Offred, one of these unfortunate servants who’s only

right to exist depends on her ovaries productivity. She lives with her commander and

his wife in a highly supervised centre.

Unlike men, women have been facing unique problems for centuries, and often women

experience harassment and discrimination. In today’s society, females are trying to

combat their tribulations through lawsuits and protest rallies. Literature often deals with

people being unable to articulate their problems. Often, unforeseen circumstances force

people to conceal their true emotions. In “The Handmaid’s Tale” the main female

characters find ways to escape their situations rather than deal with them.

Offred from The Handmaid’s Tale uses different tactics to cope with her situation. She

is trapped within a distopian society comprised of a community riddled by despair.

Though she is not physically tortured, the overwhelming and ridiculously powerful

government mentally enslaves her. Offred lives in a horrific society, which prevents her

from being freed. Essentially, the government enslaves her because she is a female,

and she is fertile. Offred’s reminisces about the way life used to be by remembering

stories about her husband Luke, her daughter, and her best friend Moira, provides her

with temporary relief from her binding situation. Also, Offred befriends the Commander’s

aide, Nick. Offred longs to be with her husband and she feels that she can find his love

by being with Nick. She risks her life several times just to be with Nick. Feeling loved by

Nick gives her a window of hope in her otherwise miserable life.

Instead of proclaiming her feelings out loud, she suppresses them. The result is a series

of recordings, which describes her life, and the things she wishes she could change.

Through these examples, it is apparent that Offred cannot face her problems because

of outside circumstances.

Works such as “The Handmaid’s Tale” deal with females being unable to face their

problems. Many authors have written on this subject matter. Though some problems

are unavoidable, one can overcome certain situations by being more assertive. Along

with male domination and the laws of society, women have had to contend with other

challenging and oppressing situations. Despite this, women in modern society are

becoming more powerful.

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