The Novel ' The Handmaid 's Tale ' Essay example

1554 Words May 6th, 2015 null Page
The Struggle of Women

In the novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, the women in Gilead appear to have diminished rights and a limited amount of freedom. These women have lives that resemble a lifestyle similar to the women who lived prior to women’s suffrage, even though this novel takes place in a futuristic time. Some of these women, like Offred, remember the past and long for a time when they can be free again. However, for many of the women, they will never understand what it is like to obtain freedom in their lifetime. The women in Gilead are ultimately given two choices: to become a handmaid or to go to the Colonies. Within the Colonies, the women who cannot have children or chose not to reproduce are referred to as “Unwomen” (p. 8). The women who are fertile and are willing to have children become Handmaids. As a Handmaid, the women lose their name and essentially their identity. Instead of having a name that most people would consider normal, the Handmaids are given names such as Offred and Ofglen. According to Margaret J. Daniels and Heather E. Bowen, the concept of a handmaid and the renaming of the women “sexually objectifies” them (p. 426). Renaming these women and taking away their former identities transforms them into nameless individuals who can be viewed as property. As a Handmaid, their sole purpose is to reproduce. If they cannot have children, they are sent to the Colonies, as they are not needed if they are unable or unwilling to procreate.…

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