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Literary Criticism the The Handmaid's Tale - Book Report/Review Example

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Name: Professor; Course: Date: Summary The book The Handmaid’s Tale is centered on the happenings in a futuristic state that replaces the US due to low productivity rate of the latter. The new state called Republic of Gilead is a totalitarian state characterized by chauvinism, homophobia, and racism…
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Literary Criticism the Book The Handmaids Tale
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Download file to see previous pages During the reign of the group, the women have no rights in the society, and this is evident when the assets of women in the state are seized and women are not allowed to read. The rights of other disadvantaged groups referred to as the undesirable were stripped, which left the people vulnerable to injustice. The state adopts doctrines from the Old Testament and makes these doctrines compulsory. The protagonist Offred depicts the injustices facing women in this state during this period. The name was conceived from the man who supposedly owned her; it means “of Fred”. The protagonist was captured and was given as one of the concubines of the ruling class to serve the purpose of breeding. This came in light due to the problem of population that the state was facing, and women in that era were reduced to serve only the purpose of breeding. The protagonist is offered to Fred, who is referred to as the commander. The commander wields significant power and influence in the Gilead government and takes part in the rituals of copulation with the handmaids to regenerate the Gilead state. The character of the commander depicts the chauvinistic inclination and sexual immorality so common among the men in the Gilead state. Theme of Sexuality The commander shows sexual immorality in his illicit affair with his handmaid Offred. The commander is seen to suffer from a loveless marriage. This prompts him to engage in illicit affairs with his handmaids. The commander turns his sexual encounter with Offred, which was meant only for reproduction, into a romantic affair. This is evident, as the commander encourages visits from the handmaid, though it is forbidden by the laws of the land based on Christian doctrines. The commander encourages Offred to visit him at night without knowledge of the commander’s wife to engage in sexual encounters (Atwood 139). Their affair seems to grow with time, and it reaches a point where the handmaid seems to have the confidence to correct the commander. Offred is seen telling the commander, “Don’t ever do that again” (Atwood 177). She tells this to him despite his high rank in the Gilead government. Immorality in the relationship between the commander and Offred goes beyond sexual immorality and becomes personal with the two participating in informal activities like scrabble: “I would like you to play scrabble with me” (Atwood 138). Character of Immorality Portrayed By the Commander The theme of sexuality is a key theme in the novel. This is evident, as the regime attempts to control the sexuality of its inhabitants. The regime outlaws any acts of homosexuality and executed those found engaging in the practice. The regime also destroys all clothing that is associated with sex and destroys pornographic material, since they influence sexuality in the society. The regime also kills doctors who performed abortions and outlaws polygamy and divorce. This is done to encourage the society to follow what the regime believes to be proper sexual conduct. However, through the ritual that involved impregnating of women in some form of ceremony, the regime encourages the same practices it shunned (Atwood 221). This encourages immorality. This is evident in the character of the commander, who is seen to engage in several illicit affairs with his handmaids, despite being one of the leaders in the regime. The immoral behavior of the commander is also evident in the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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