Six Outstanding Themes in The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel with a setting in the near future. It is the future, and the patriarchal and the totalitarian Republic of Gilead has overthrown the American government and settled in New England. Offred, the novel’s heroine and narrator, is a “handmaid,” one of the women in Gilead who are expected to bear children for the ruling class, the “commanders.”

The story explores themes of women’s subjugation in a patriarchal society, the erasure of women’s individuality and agency, the denial of women’s reproductive rights, and the various strategies women use to fight for their freedom.

Reading The Handmaid’s Tale is a great weekend alternative to playing your favorite slots on an online casino enjoying the Jackpot Capital Bonus (although the slots are a lot more “light” than the Handmaid’s Tale – you might want to spin a few to chill down from the intensity of the book). The plot is perfect, and the narration is just as good, coupled with interesting themes.

1. The Ills of Totalitarian Authorities

After a population decline caused by a fertility crisis, a totalitarian rule is highlighted in the narrative. The architects of Gilead use religion selectively to achieve their goals and then rely on torture, fear, guilt, and murder to keep the peace and order in their society.

Most individuals fear losing their eternal souls if they defy the Scriptures, and friends and family members routinely betray each other to the government. Women’s independence, along with the human spirit itself, is crushed under this tyranny.

2. Gender Roles

The women of the Republic of Gilead are separated into several classes: the Wives are in charge of running the houses; the Handmaids are responsible for having offspring for the Wives; the Marthas work as housemaids; and the Aunts supervise, instruct, and maintain order among the Handmaids.

The reproductive life cycle of the Handmaid serves as the focal point for each of the roles. Women were considered vessels for producing children; those who voluntarily gave up this responsibility were sent off to harsh labor in the Colonies.

After they discovered they could not have children, their womanhood was taken away.

3. Responsibility to The Environment

Biological tampering for military purposes, the emergence of a new, potent strain of syphilis in tandem with the Aids crisis, the availability of birth control, nuclear spills, toxic seepage from nuclear stockpiles, reckless pesticide use, and the accessibility of contraception all contributed to the onset of Gilead’s fertility crisis.

Numerous factors contributed to male and female infertility in The Handmaid’s Tale, but environmental disasters had a major role.

4. Stripping of Identity

The prefix “of” was added to the names of the Commanders so that the Handmaids could identify who belonged to whom. As an illustration, Offred served as Fred’s Handmaid, and Ofglen did the same for Glen.

Women were stripped of their names, tattooed with a recognition marker on their legs, and forced to wear uniform clothing that did not conform to their bodies. Makeup was not allowed, nor was any trace of a previous identity.

5. The Role of Religion

Gilead is a conservative Christian theocracy. This means there is no division between religion and the state in this fictional nation. The concept that males are more significant than women is central to the biblical narrative of Gilead.

The Bible is significant in the nomenclature of things, places, and people worldwide. The state itself is the primary factor to consider. Gilead is a region in ancient Palestine that is described in the Old Testament as being exceptionally fertile and, as a result, highly attractive. Gilead, the dystopian society portrayed in Margaret Atwood’s novel, is anything but fertile; rather, it is an illustration of how the government is moral and upright.

(Atwood) Men are referred to as the “commanders of the faithful” and are also referred to as the “eyes of the lord.” They regulate all elements of life, from the economy and politics to an individual’s views and beliefs. Wives, Marthas, Handmaids, Econowives, and Unwomen are the five separate kinds of women that are distinguished from one another. There are references to the Bible throughout these.

6. Fertility

In Gilead, motherhood and fertility are frequently seen as two distinct concepts. Women in Gilead are seen as nothing more than reproductive organs. These women are responsible for bearing children for childless women who have high social rank in the culture of Gilead. They are referred to as handmaids in that region.

Gilead places additional restrictions on the handmaids by preventing them from raising their children, who were born before the establishment of Gilead. One such example is Offred, who is cut off from her daughter. As a result, it is clear that Margaret Atwood promotes a state of mind in which birth is seen solely as a contributor to a population increase rather than as the start of a bond between a mother and her child.

The epigraph that begins The Handmaid’s Tale emphasizes fertility’s importance to the people living under Gilead. The Genesis 30:3 passage can be found at the beginning of the book and gives the impression that Gilead is trying to return to more traditional values.

As a result, it manipulates its citizens into believing its ideology is correct because it is in line with what the Bible says. Because of this, the residents of this state are told that the sole factor determining a woman’s value is whether or not she can have children.

Infertile women who are not of a particularly high social status are the ones who are deported to the colonies. The main purpose of the handmaids is further emphasized by the rights that Gilead takes away from them; for example, they are not allowed to communicate with other people. In fact, Offred remarks, “How I used to loathe such discussion.”

Take Away

The Handmaid’s Tale tackles some of the most controversial issues of our time, including reproductive freedom, sexism, the abuse of power, and the perils of religious fundamentalism. The series doesn’t flinch from tackling the issues in great intricacy and tackles the concerns head-on instead of evading them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.