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.