Women role in society, but are obviously demonetized

 

Women aren’t allowed to use their minds in the world
of The Handmaid’s Tale. They’re prohibited from reading, working outside of
their home under their commander, or even spending money for themselves. The
marginal few who are fertile are obligated to become baby making tools, or as
the narrator thoughts on it is blank empty reproduction vessels. Even the
authoritative live very constrained lives, but the Handmaids, limited to their
dorms aside for authorized trips to grocery stores, birth ceremonies, and
executions. Particularly imprisoned by their low social statuses and their
fertility, Handmaids don’t get to do anything. In this paper I will explore the
confinement and femininity through the Handmaids as they’re confined to their
bodies forced to give birth to children they can’t keep and procreated by men
they don’t love thanks to their minority and low status, but still finding
views and ways to have freedom.

Women do have a rather important role in society, but
are obviously demonetized only used for stereotypical tasks especially the
handmaids. Though they are very limited cases of women being more powerful as
they are grouped into this hierarchy. Women are prohibited from reading,
working outside the home, and spending money unless otherwise assigned. The lesser
marginal who are fertile are involuntary forced to become baby making machines
or empty reproducing vessels. “There is no such thing as a sterile man
anymore, not officially. There are only women who are fruitful and women who are
barren, that’s the law” (Atwood, 69). This is shown having society set up
women as the only real need to set up sterility as a only women problem even
though it can obviously be either. Men aren’t the issue in this society as it’s
the women’s job to be doing this and it’s their responsibility. Their figures
are concealed and their intellects are deprived of any thought or action “This
is the kind of touch they like: folk art, archaic, made by women, in their
spare time, from things that have no further use. A return to traditional
values. Waste not want not. I am not being wasted. Why do I want?” (Atwood, 3).
The narrator is comparing herself with the other Handmaids to the folk, art,
and archaic using waste not, want not. This is saying that women and art are
just simply decorations and useless, scraps that have been used up and
discarded. Feeling the sensation of useless but also used, the narrator really
wants to emphasize the “want,” prompting herself why she’s not the equal
as an unusable art piece. Really knowing that the body is shown as more than a container
for babies and their minds as still creative, is only seen in those buried instants.

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In this society women are easily seen as the lowest of
the hierarchy, but there are points where we see that certain females are in fact
higher up in the chain then even men or their husbands. But even the authoritative
powerful live surprisingly constrained lives. Of course the Handmaids, kept to
their chambers aside for approved trips to grocery stores, childbirth formalities,
and even the executions, are far worse off than most of the women. Particularly
enclosed by their low social statuses and their female bodies to make babies,
Handmaids hardly get to do any activity on their own free will as everything is
a task for them. Their bodies’ productiveness both imposes their imprisonment
and absurdly assures them a type of freedom. It is shown the roles of women in
this society, all but the wives, figuratively, are divided into these group
known as functions simply shown by their dresses. “There are other women
with baskets, some in red, some in the dull green of the Martha’s, some in the
striped dresses, red and blue and green and cheap and skimp, that mark the
women of the poorer men. Econowives, they’re called. These women are not
divided into functions. They have to do everything; if they can.”(Atwood, 26). the
women are basically color coded. For blue it’s the wives, red for the Handmaids,
and green to the Martha’s. All of their uniqueness and personality is entirely ripped
away. Both in the Hulu series and in the book shows obvious imagery of confinement,
showing gates and bars on windows. In the series the gate is the most prominent
in its episodes being large making them hard to pass and showing a view of the
handmaids behind them, sealed within by force. “I know why there is no glass,
in front of the watercolor picture of blue irises, and why the window opens
only partly and why the glass in it is shatter-proof. It isn’t running away
they’re afraid of. We wouldn’t get far. It’s those other escapes, the ones you
can open in yourself, given a cutting edge” (Atwood, 4). This is a reminder that
there are altered forms of freedom. Those living in the Commander’s household
know about this, not only are they obviously prohibited from jumping out of the
window to escape or by simply running out the door, but they’ve essentially
removed all option of killing themselves that is to commit suicide.

 

The book’s plot foundations will fit into the genre of
dystopian literature. In a dystopia, we find that this society has developed into
a horrible outcome from the decisions that would seem like a good idea. “Newborns
are valuable and uncommon commodities in this society. The reproduction of
children has been the Republic of Gilead’s primary goal, leading just about
every feature of life. While the objective of making the next generation is devastating
and of course necessary, traditional ideas about raising a child and
family roles are now turned backwards. Just like many authoritarian locations,
the Republic of Gilead begins out as an intended utopia created by the selected
to try to help out the society, but this reconstructed world in which lower class
women will offer higher class partners with babies, so the human race can feel self-assured
about making next generations. However the large majority of the characters we see
are burdened by this world. Its severe devotion to forcefulness, loss, and
conformity highlight the ways in which it is an awful and wretched place to be
living in. Female characters are often told in The Handmaids Tale on how much safer, protected and generally
better off doing what they want them to do, divided by their functions and the
majority are the handmaids. They are trapped inside this society and if they
revolt they are punished and could be killed. Hence all the gates, security and
oppression of power by showing what they can do leaving bodies in public. By
looking at those points it’s shown that these are utopian characteristics, but
without even looking closely, in this situation, they’re anything but.

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