The Handmaids Tale Essay Research Paper September

The Handmaids Tale Essay, Research Paper September 18,2000 James Fall 2000 Atwood, Margaret.1986.?The Handmaids Tale.? The Handmaids Tale focuses itself on some past history of societies that once

The Handmaids Tale Essay, Research Paper

September 18,2000


Fall 2000

Atwood, Margaret.1986.?The Handmaids Tale.?

The Handmaids Tale focuses itself on some past history of societies that once

were and to some extent may be reality of today. The main characters face certain

uncertainty unless they follow the rules of the society and accept their position within the society.

One must contemplate whether there may be any risk, large or small, that the current society we live in may be susceptible to this type of change. If you consider the base to be that of old day Puritan values with some additional changes within the culture

there are individuals of both sexes that would accept the altered way of life.

Considerations to other world powers, not necessarily superpowers, could influence and change due to religious beliefs as well as terrorism to bring in change. Many would believe that this would not happen in the society of today within the United States as there are governing bodies, laws, and political beliefs to protect the freedom of individuals. Any threats to the society are dealt with by the Armed Forces or local Police Forces. There was little mention of a large armed force within the story line suggesting the takeover and the creation of the new government. The detail of the story suggests that the government was abolished within an extremely short period of time that may have left the remaining to surrender or face certain death. This sudden change brought the country to its knees that resulted in the quick takeover by the new regime. This level of takeover would require either a large atomic revolution or a biological warfare of great magnitude. Uncertainty within some third world countries could lead to attempts of these types of risks. These countries are viewed as terrorist based or unstable political governments who will spend what is required to obtain the power. The Indian government is an example of this in today?s world as well as the case of Iraq of the past few years.

However, the story is based on Gilead with its boundaries best described to be the former city of Cambridge Massachusetts. This city had checkpoints with guards and walls to contain the limits. It also allowed visitors to the city for people to view the culture and its habitants. This would leave one to believe this could have been an isolated case that may have resulted in the takeover of a state or city alone, and if so how would it survive attacks from governing bodies?

Current history has a case that could assimilate the Handmaids tale in Gilead. This case is of the cult within the Waco Texas society that was attacked by the FBI and forced to surrender under terms not even considered to be humane by some. This society lived by its own rules and beliefs in both religion and with force. The government of the U.S. monitored the cult closely until such a time determined it was time to action for the release of the people. This action by the government led to the total destruction of all of the members of the community by certain death from the attack on the camp.


Each Handmaid was considered to be ?OF? their commander. These symbolisms placed ownership of the Handmaid directly to the commander and all were on equal statuses. Offred, Ofglen, Ofwarren, to name a few, were the Handmaids of Fred, Glen, and Warren. The ?OF? prefix also can be construed to be demeaning to the Handmaid placing herself within the ranks of the household she resided in. Although the rank of the Handmaid could be considered to be somewhat of importance, if fertile, there were many more downsides.

In today?s society it is customary for the bride to adopt the name of the groom. This practice is considered by some to be completely acceptable yet to others extremely vain. Many brides now make it a point to either add the groom family name after their own or make the point to maintain each original family name. In the latter cases it is more of the family name carrying some sort of importance within the society or the wish of the family to maintain the existence of the family name. It is not unheard of for the groom to adopt the brides name if there are no other males within the generation to carry on the bride?s family name.

With the divorce rate maintaining its level of almost 50% it leaves many families with choices to make. Many of these families with children residing with the mother have the mother maintain the grooms name if adopted during the wedding. This is done for reasons of the children?s upbringing within school districts and also within the society being that it is completely acceptable.

To some males there may be great differences between both parties and potentially both families if the bride wishes to maintain her maiden name. Dependent on the families? social status or heritage it may be considered to be unethical. It would not be surprising that these differences could become irreconcilable differences leading to break ups prior to the marriages.

Although the practice could be considered similar the difference lies in the ownership of the Handmaid within this story that is not a practice within the society of today in the U.S.