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The Handmaid's tale is a story about power structures existing in life and relationships. Discuss - Essay Example

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It is about the power structures that exist in life, relationships and in this particular theocracy which seeks to subjugate women and strip…
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The Handmaids tale is a story about power structures existing in life and relationships. Discuss
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Download file to see previous pages The story was written in the 1980s in the wake of revived conservatism and religious awakening that superseded the turbulent 60s and 70s when the battle of the sexes was at its peak. The feminist movement had enabled women to take control of their lives and there was a shift in the balance of power between the sexes. Consequently there was concern about declining morality, sexual freedom and its implications and the plummeting birth-rate due to increased birth control, infertility due to pollution and other factors and the legalization of abortion. Religious conservatives raised their voices in protest and lots of people where brought under their sway. The Handmaid’s Tale was written by Atwood in order to explore the consequences of fanatical commitment to the intolerant principles espoused by religious extremists.
The story is set in the future, where the United States is overrun by extremist Christian revolutionaries. What follows is a reign of terror, narrated by Offred, a lowly handmaid in the newly developed power structure. Handmaids exist for breeding purposes and their worth is measured by the viability of their ovaries. They are assigned to elite couples, in the upper echelons of power, who have been unable to conceive. Their menstrual cycles are closely monitored and at the right time, the handmaids must have sex, in a bizarre ritual where they lie between the legs of the wives’ who clasp their hands, while their husbands do what is necessary in order to procreate, in keeping with biblical precedent. Women have absolutely no freedom in the Republic of Gilead and lead severely restricted lives.
In the course of her chilling narrative, Offred deviates from the present in order to talk about the past and in doing so helps the reader reconstruct the events that led up to the present state of affairs. She talks about her love affair with Luke and their marriage which was nullified by the new regime as it does not condone ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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