A Handmaid's Tale: Feminist Essay Ap Literature Essay

530 words - 3 pages

A Handmaid’s Tale
Even a great forefather of science like Galileo could not escape the grasp of the Inquisition. Thousands upon thousands of people were tortured into confessions of heresy and then relinquished of their sins by being executed in God’s name. There is little difference between that and A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. In the book the main character, Offred, gives a first-person encounter about her subservient life as a handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, a republic formed after the bloody overthrow of the United States government. Women are oppressed and are forced to become handmaid's, fertile women mainly used only for sex. In A Handmaid’s Tale politics practically flow from its seams.  
Margaret Atwood didn’t put anything in her book that hadn’t already happened in history. Having read the book and seen the oppression and cruelty against women, it isn’t hard to believe but it’s hard to conceive. All of the handmaid’s in the book believed they “ were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edge of the print. It gave us more freedom,” (pg. 57). Any ounce of freedom they could attain would hold onto for dear life.
In the United States the people are prideful of their freedom and compared to any other country or nation they live the dream with how much freedom they possess. In the book “there is more than one type of freedom . . . Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from,” (pg. 24). Freedom from what exactly? Freedom from being their own person’s. Every handmaid’s very name is an element of how stripped they were of their own identity. Offred, her name meant of - Fred, she was Fred’s possession, “That is one of the things they do. They force you to kill, within yourself,” (pg. 193). They no longer had personality or identity but somehow, they had freedom.
The entire Republic of Gilead is a made-up place with very real concepts and politics that were used at some point in history. A writing that Margaret Atwood did was a “Writing . . . that thinks about human problems, including those in the social and political realm, that addresses the rights of persons and the wrongs of those in power - can be not only interesting but hugely compelling,” (Chapter 13 - It’s All Political). She was able to write a compelling story, but she isn’t compelling you to do much of anything except to look around and see the potential and not be so naive about your surroundings.
For I am not ashamed, some brave words that should always be followed wisely. Some wise advice that some people should take is “Nothing makes me more nervous then people who say, ‘It can’t happen here.’ Anything can happen anywhere, given the right circumstances,” (Margaret Atwood). Anywhere, any country could fall victim, any human being could fall victim to the ideology that ‘It can’t happen here’ or ‘It can’t happen to me.’ Political influence along with social influence can strike anyone, anywhere.  

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