The Handmaidss Tale By Margaret Atwood Essay

The Handmaids?s Tale By Margaret Atwood Essay, Research Paper

?The Handmaids?s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a dystopia about a world where unrealistic

things take place. The events in the novel could never actually take place in our reality.? This is

most people views about this novel. However the ideas in the novel are not so far fetch. Although

the exact Gilead society would never happen in real life, it is not to say that certain society of the

past or even the present haven?t incorporated some of the Gilead society. This essay will discuss

three examples in real life were the Gilead society was or still is in the world, and prove that some

places in the world then or now, used some of the theories of the Gilead society. First, is in Iran,

and other Arabic Countries, and how the women have no rights of there own. Second, is South

Asian countries that kill babies, because of imperfections or because just of their sex. And third,

during World War 2 when Hitler ran death camps and concentration camps.In Pakistan, women’s rights are non-existent, and many policies are that of Gilead in The

Handmaid’s Tale. In Gilead, the handmaids must cover their bodies and faces almost completely

with vales and wings. In Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, and similar South Asian countries, this is a

must for women. Other Gileadean-like persecutions take place towards women. In Pakistan,

women can be raped, and unless there is full proof that there was no consent, the man will get off

scot free, and the women charged with pre-marital sex and sentenced to a prison term. In

Afghanistan, the police force has and continue to torture and rape innocent women for

unnecessary reasons. This is similar to The Handmaid’s Tale in that Offred, and other handmaids,

not only go through “The Ceremony”, but also can be used and possibly even raped by their

Commanders, and there is nothing the handmaid can do about it. If she speaks, she is usually not

believed, and then she is sent away because she broke the law..

Women are given little to no rights in Gilead. They obey what they are told by the men or

by the Aunts in turn who get their orders from the men. They are not permitted to read or write,

or participate in any extra-curricular activity. For example when Offred is asked to play scrabble,

she thinks ?…Now it`s forbidden for us, Now it`s dangerous, Now it`s indecent…(for handmaids

to play games or even read.) ?(Atwood 130). They are alive only to serve a purpose. In countries

such Iran, women are subject to similar laws. Although more recently they have been allowed

read and write, it is on a strict level only, and activities are out of the question. There is no

specific law against it, however with the Islamic government making it mandatory for all women

to wear complete body coverings, sports and other activities are nearly impossible.

Women in Gilead belong to the men. Whether it was Offred, Ofglen, or Ofwarren, they

were possessive items. In many Arabic countries, women belong to their husband. Men, in turn,

may have many women, which belong to them. They must obey their husbands, or the husband

legally has to right to do what he want to his wife.The Handmaids in Gilead had one purpose: to have babies. However, two-thirds of the

babies were us sent away and declared a Unbaby, because of imperfections. For example in the

book when Offred says ?What will Ofwarren give birth to? A baby … or something else, an

Unbaby, … We didn?t know exactly what would happen to the babies that didn?t get passed, that

were declared Unbabies. But we knew they were put somewhere, quickly, away?(Atwood 106).

This is very similar to South Asian countries. Many babies are killed every day either because of

imperfections or because they are just not wanted. In India, female babies are killed, because

family?s are so poor they do not want to pay for the girl?s dowry, and wants a boy to get a

Dowry, reportedly 16 million every year.

“It feels as if you’ve been turned inside out. You’ve just given birth and finally you feel

emptied. You’re exhausted. Your breasts are painfully full of milk. And then you look at your

baby. And you see that she’s a little girl. And you know that you have to kill her?. Replace ‘little

girl’ with Unbaby, and it could be an exact account from a Handmaid in Gilead, at the loss of her

baby. However, it’s a quote from a woman in India in 1999. 1999 in the real world, not Gilead.Finally, there is the largest and most prominent of all racial bigotry in the world’s recent

history, the Holocaust of WWII. Adolf Hitler was a sick man, yet a smart man, very similar to the

leaders of the fictitious Gilead. Unlike Gilead, however, Hilter’s “Perfect World” idea did not quite

succeed, however the damage was much greater. Under Hitler, 11 million Jews were killed, and

many more sent to concentration camps. In Gilead, Jews were sent away, and if they didn’t go,

they were sent to the Colonies, where they would eventually die. The Colonies themselves are

similar to the concentration camps of WWII, where people would go to, eventually, die. Black

people were not considered good in either society. Hitler had them killed, while in Gilead, they

were killed or shipped off to the Colonies. Homosexuals were not treated as equals in either

society either. In the fictional Republic of Gilead, homosexuals were often killed and hung on the

Wall. For example in the novel when Offred remarks ?There are three new bodies on the wall..

One is a priest … The two others have purple placards hung around their necks: Gender

Treachery … ?(Atwood 41). In WWII, Hiltler ordered all homosexuals to die. They weren’t even

given the distinction of being slaves, even those that appeared Aryan. Many Slavs, Poles, and even

German women that were not worthy of Aryan status were used in breeding by Hitler, to keep the

population going. This is very similar to the Handmaid’s Tale because women that were in their

second marriage, lesbians, and other non-perfect women that still had viable ovaries were sent to

different houses to basically breed and produce healthy children that were then taken away and

given to the Wives. If Adolph Hitler had succeeded in his attempt to take over the world and

make it a Nazi Federation, we would all be living in a reality far worse than any Gilead.Every aspect of the Handmaid’s Tale that makes it a dystopia can be found in recent past

or in the present around the world. The mistreatment of women, the killing of innocent babies for

the good of the state, and racist beliefs and actions, and senseless killings of non-whites, attempts

at Theocracies, and religions gaining in strength, making believers out of paraphrases and outright

lies: All of these are in our world, the real world. Margaret Atwood has created a “story” that isn’t

really a story. It is a representation of all that is wrong with our world today. So, in fact, this

imaginative tale is not so far fetched. We are living in it.



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