The Handmaids Tale Is a Feminist Novel

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‘The Handmaids Tale is a feminist novel’

In the framework of a dystopian novel, Margaret Atwood creates a society that bereaves women of their identity and individuality by allowing them none other than their gift of bearing children. The novel explores the religious objectification of women that they should use only their physical bodies to procreate, and if this isn’t possible, the women are useless and therefore sent to the ‘colonies’.

Margaret Atwood uses strong female characters as a symbol of feminism within the novel. Despite their lack of identity, the women are much more paraded than the men are; with only the ‘Doctor’ and the ‘Commander’ drifting out of the picture. Atwood displays the men as the most mysterious, enigmatic characters that belong in their ‘black painted vans’ with the ‘dark tinted windows’ and ‘dark glasses’. Using adjectives such as ‘dark’ and ‘black’ when describing the male presence aids to the inscrutable effect that they have, where men fade into the background whereas the Handmaids, dressed in red and white, stand out empowering and obvious. Margaret Atwood creates a feminist narrative by focusing the narrative on the women and their appreciable appearance. The character Offred is constantly spinning her thoughts in her mind, with a limited speech allowed. Margaret Atwood could be reflecting the Suffragettes and the fact that women’s ideas should be outspoken and aloud. However, the set up that the Commander talks often but Serena Joy remains ‘speechless’ after the revolution heightens an idea that women are still in a submissive…...

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