How Does Atwood’s Portrayal Of Control On Pages 22 23 Typify Atwood’s Treatment Of Women In The Rest Of The Novel?

772 words - 4 pages

How does Atwood’s portrayal of control on pages 22-23 typify Atwood’s treatment of women in the rest of the novel?

In Margaret Atwood’s novel ‘The Handmaids Tale ‘women are objectified and live under an oppressive regime. In this essay I will be exploring Atwood’s presentation of women and women’s purpose in society.

In ‘The Handmaids Tale ‘phallic imagery is used to distinguish women’s position in society. “The commander’s wife directs, pointing with her stick.” Serena Joy’s stick can be seen as phallic imagery; throughout the novel phallic imagery is used to represent the hierarchy amongst the women. At the red centre the aunts carried cattle prods and this solidified their ...view middle of the document...

“Maybe it’s something to keep the wives busy, to give them a sense of purpose.” The Gilead regime attempts to give the wives a sense of purpose by getting them to knit scarves. This very menial task, which would be seen as a hobby in today’s society, makes the wives seem childlike and futile as their only sense of purpose is knitting. This can be seen as ironic as the wives are given childlike tasks due to the fact that they have no children to care for. It can also be interpreted as the wives attempt to gain control over an aspect of their lives and their attempt to fill their days with an activity they believe they have chosen but really the regime has chosen for them. Serena Joy is seen to knit unnecessarily elaborate patterns on her scarves. This may be her attempting to be more sophisticated than the other wives. However through the knitting of the scarves we are also able to see the wives belief in the regime and that they will do anything to help its supposed cause. When compared to the men the wives are seen as inferior and as readers we are able see how submissive they are to the regime. However we are able to question Offred’s reliability as a narrator, we are aware of Offred’s...

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