English Oral Presentation: The role of women in 'The Handmaids Tale, by Margaret Atwood - Essay Example

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As she struggles to survive the life she has now, the main character of Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale clings to memories of the daughter and husband she lost when the new order took control of what is suggested to have been the United States. This character is able to…
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English Oral Presentation: The role of women in The Handmaids Tale, by Margaret Atwood
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"English Oral Presentation: The role of women in 'The Handmaids Tale, by Margaret Atwood"

Download file to see previous pages border, she lost husband, daughter and life in one fell swoop, now living a life completely different from the one she’d known and not able to discover any news regarding those she’d lost. As she narrates her story, in which women’s rights have been completely removed, Offred illustrates the depth of the cruelty of such removal through the enjoyment of simple pleasures once taken for granted as well as the ways in which women’s individualism and women’s voices had been removed from history. The novel explores the various ways in which women were silenced in the fictional world of Atwood’s creation, but also in the similarly restrictive world of the past. This exploration reveals the damage caused to the individual, who is eventually destroyed or disappears from history, as well as the damage caused to a society that is no longer able to maintain the strength of equilibrium.
In her novel, Atwood presents the fictional story of a woman trapped in a post-modern world of strict social structure based upon a rigid Puritan-like religious ideology and a patriarchal worldview reminiscent of the middle ages. Offred, the main character, is assigned the role of a Handmaid, a woman who, because of her background as a sullied fertile woman, has been reassigned in the new world order to provide an elite couple with a child. Offred, her birth name is never disclosed, is considered a fallen woman because she had been married to a divorcee prior to the establishment of the new world order. This association automatically designates Offred as an adulteress, so she is not eligible to become a bride to one of the new leaders. However, because many of their wives are past the age of child-bearing, Offred is valuable in her ability to carry a child. Each month, when she’s at the right point in her menstrual cycle, Offred must have uninvolved sex with her commander while the commander’s wife straddles behind her and holds her hands. By uninvolved, I ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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