Topic Question: What apprehensions of the issue of gender and power are gained from word picture of work forces and adult females constructed in the text studied? The impression of power is a cardinal edifice block of any antediluvian. modern or futuristic society. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is an illustration of the distribution of power across a futuristic society. specifically a patriarchal dystopia. The power which adult females hold in this society is minimum compared to that held by work forces. but this is non an unquestionable world. The issue of gender and power and extremely subjective by nature and throughout this novel this fact is emphasized and the subjects interrelated. Women show this power with their ownership and usage of linguistic communication. gender. pick and even the effort of their ain liberty. Work force within this society besides experience repression and disempowerment. Their battle is centered on the absence of emotional demands. along with sexual tensenesss being relieved for pleasance instead than reproduction. Atwood creates these power struggles through the word picture of both work forces and adult females within the text.

In footings of female word picture. Offred is an simple character. Bing a first individual storyteller. she offers unbelievable penetration into the universe which Atwood has created and her reactions to it. and therefore her ain agencies of power. The manner in which linguistic communication is used forms this penetration improbably and demonstrates how she can derive control. The Republic of Gilead imposes strict censoring on linguistic communication. runing from prohibiting all adult females except Aunts to read. “… decided that even the names of stores were excessively much enticement for us. Now topographic points are known by their marks entirely. ” [ p35 ] to entwining scriptural rhetoric into mundane linguistic communication. “…a whirlwind ; better than the Chariot. much better than the chunky. practical Behemoth” .

Gilead even removes the Handmaids names. in this society the are know as Of [ Male name here ] in mention to the Commander in which they are placed with. Throughout the novel. Offred resists these regulations. She creates her ain vision of the universe through the usage of English. Poetic devices are utilised and repeated ; from the usage of a simile in her description of a immature defender “His tegument is pale and looks unwholesomely stamp. like the tegument under a strikebreaker. ” [ p31 ] to the usage of repeat to stress points. “I am. I am. I am. still. ” [ P 293 ] “Her mistake. her mistake. her fault” [ p82 ] . As Angela Carter. an English novelist one time said “Language is power” and in this regard. Offred has great power in a patriarchal society.

The power of linguistic communication is non all that Offred posses. The word picture of her dealingss with males in the novel is besides of import to the impressions of power and gender. Similarly to linguistic communication. gender is to a great extent controlled and repressed in Gilead. particularly that of females. The Handmaids ( Of which Offred is ) Don in skirts that are “ankle-length. full. gathered to a level yoke that extends over the breasts” [ p18 ] with “sleeves that are full” [ p18 ] . Her nightie is besides “long-sleeved even in summer” [ p201 ] . It is accepted that those within this community will non hold sex before matrimony nor express themselves through the signifier of onanism “They have no mercantile establishments now except themselves. and that’s a sacrilege” [ p32 ] or adult mediums. “There are no more magazines. no more movies. no more replacements. ” [ p32 ]

Offred exerts power in these repressed fortunes by traveling against the convention of Gilead and encompassing her feminine characteristics. She takes an active function in defying this subjection by alluring the immature Guardians. “I move my hips a small. experiencing the full ruddy skirt sway around me. ” [ p32 ] The buss she engages in during a secret game of scrabble with the Commander is besides a contemplation on the power of her gender and pick. The Commander. a high degree male wants Offred to snog him. “I want you to snog me” [ p149 ] . She is given the power in this state of affairs. as she has the power to decline. The power which Offred. as a adult female. has in this laden society due to her gender is an of import issue.

The impression of pick. specifically extrinsic pick is demonstrated with the Commanders want for a buss is besides evident in other parts of the text. Choice is power and she ever has some pick. The thought of existential philosophy is valid here – she ever has self finding. even if under duress. If she does non wish to remain a Handmaid she could go for the settlements and go an Unwoman. “…shipped of to the Colonies with the Unwomen. ” where she would hold the power of liberty. The Mayday opposition is besides a pick made by Offred. She is asked by Ofglen to seek the Commanders room. to give information to the opposition. but she chooses non to. “You could travel into his room at dark. she says. ” [ p282 ]

Choosing to remain as she is. content with her relationship with Nick. she exerts power to state no. Jezebels is besides another option. when sing at that place with the Commander he offers for her to remain at that place “You might even prefer it yourself. to what you’ve got. ” [ p250 ] She is cognizant of the determinations which she can do in these state of affairss. “There wasn’t a batch of pick. but there was some and this is what I chose. ” [ p105 ] It is through this word picture which her power lies.

In add-on to these picks Offred along with other females have intrinsic picks and power. being a female with ‘viable ovaries’ they have the ability to reproduce. In Gileadean society this gives them a immense power advantage due to worsening birth rates and increased sterility. asepsis and genetically mutated babes. “…a graph. demoing the birth rate per 1000. for old ages and old ages: a slippery incline. down past the zero line of replacing. ” [ p123 ] Ironically. it is due to this power advantage that they are suppressed. Suicide is besides another intrinsic power which all characters in this fresh possess. although. its word picture in the Handmaids is the most outstanding. The construct that self-destruction is an ultimate command for freedom and effort of power is an understood perceptual experience of characters within The Handmaid’s Tale.

The remotion of all objects which could be used to ache oneself from the Handmaid’s suites portrays this. “I know why there is no glass. in forepart of the water-coloured image of bluish flags. and why the window merely opens partially and why the glass is splinterless. It isn’t running off they’re afraid of. ” [ p17 ] every bit good as Offred’s contemplations when she believes she will be captured. The impression of suicide becomes really existent to her as a agency of flight and power. “I could noose the bed sheet unit of ammunition my cervix. hook myself up in the cupboard and throw my weight frontward. ” [ p304 ] These intrinsic powers exist within the characters of The Handmaid’s Tale. the aid organize the society of Gilead and demo the possible picks which can be made by its citizens.

Moira is an incarnation of the power which females clasp in Gilead. She epitomizes those who fought back and were non wholly obliterated. She lives on the outskirts of Gilead and rejects its values whilst still bing as an institutionalised part of the society. “ [ in relation to her vesture ] Government issue. ” [ p254 ] She chooses the alternate way to Offred. Moira fled the ruddy centre. wining on her 2nd attempt. “Moira has escaped” [ p140 ] “Moira didn’t reappear. ” [ p143 ] “So here I am. They even give you face pick. ” [ p261 ] She exists in an outreach of the authorities. under the power of the patriarchate. and yet doesn’t suppress herself to the point which other females within The Handmaid’s Tale do. She still engages in homosexual Acts of the Apostless. “…it’s non so bad. there’s tonss of adult females around. Butch Eden. you might name it. ” [ p261 ] coffin nails. and implied imbibing and drugs. . “…and there’s drink and drugs. if you want it. ” [ p261 ] “You want a cig? ” [ p255 ] Moira’s word picture holds power in this society. peculiarly over herself and her wants and demands.

The control of wants and needs is a manner in which this society maps. It is a patriarchate which suppresses all adult females and most work forces. though work forces have inherently more rights. This is exemplified through the character of Nick. The word picture of him is self-contradictory by nature. In hierarchical footings. Nick has small power. He is a low degree defender without even an Econowife. “He lives here. in the family. over the garage. Low stats: he hasn’t been issued a adult female. non one. ” [ p27 ] He is perceived by those in power to hold small of it. “He doesn’t rate. ” [ p27 ] In world. he has power. “He has chasms of intangible power. He has cognition of Mayday either due to his engagement in it or the eyes “It’s all right. It’s Mayday. Travel with them” [ p305 ] “Nick. the private Eye. ” [ p305 ] and has entree to the black market.

“He has a coffin nail stuck in the corner of his oral cavity. which shows that he excessively has something he can merchandise on the black market. ” [ p27 ] He manages to prosecute in a physical and emotional relationship with Offred whilst still keeping the pretense of faithful Gileadean citizen though even so. the lone ground he able to get down this relationship was due to the Commander’s Wife telling him to bed with Offred. “‘I was believing of Nick’ . she says and her voice is about soft. ” [ p216 ] The thought the he influenced this battle is ever a possibility nevertheless. as he has initiated contact with her anterior to that. “Then he winks. ” [ p28 ] The power which Nick holds in this novel is that of intangibleness. His power is ne’er outright stated. but the deductions of it are seeable.

This is a blunt contrast to the touchable power displayed in Commander Fred. The word picture conveyed through him shows he is a strong public figure and may hold even orchestrated the creative activity of Gilead. “We’ve given them more than we’ve taken off. ” [ p231 ] Which. in a manner makes him the Godhead of his ain death as he excessively is suppressed by the patriarchate ; he is non holding his emotional demands met. and therefore has to seek elsewhere. In making this he gives power to person else in order to carry through these demands. this evident when he asks Offred to his survey at dark to play scrabble. “I’d like you to play a game of scrabble with me” [ p148 ] Despite this. he remains locked in traditional beliefs about gender “all we’ve done is return to Nature’s norm. ” [ p232 ] and his power is a consequence of his male gender.

Gender and power are built-in parts of the society portrayed in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. as with any society. Understandings environing these issues are found within this novel. The characters within Gilead trade with the different signifiers of power which they encounter. including that of linguistic communication. sex. pick. intrinsic and extrinsic impressions and the consequence of a dystopic patriarchal society has on its citizens. These signifiers of power are explored through the word picture of both male and female characters. Overall. The Handmaid’s Tale intertwines the issues of gender and power like an expert and her constructed characters carry for the impressions of power contained within the text with easiness.

Bibliography

The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood

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