Atwood's Presentation of Female Characters. Essay

694 WordsNov 12, 20143 Pages
Armaan Mahmood 13T Discuss Atwood’s presentation of female characters in the Handmaid’s tale Atwood presents female characters as being oppressed slaves who are subject to sexual abuse and violation from the various male individuals. They are portrayed as characters who have an extremely scarce amount of freedom within a dystopian future. Due to this lack of freedom the novel consists of recurring themes such as an attempt to regain freedom and a constant power struggle. The idea of dehumanisation is another theme which is vividly portrayed by Atwood in terms of how her female characters are made to reproduce in order to stand a chance of surviving. Atwood presents the female characters as being both oppressed and dehumanised through how their freedom being stripped from them. An example of this is how they are no longer allowed to smoke cigarettes due to the potential harm it can cause their pregnancy. Woman are protected in Gilead however this also means that they must submit to the state-sanctioned rape by their specific commanders. In chapter five Aunt Lydia states that “There is more than one kind of freedom… Freedom to and freedom from.” The freedom to that she is referring to is the ability to make a decision, an example of this is evident through how Offred is given a chance to escape by the doctor, however she immediately questions herself by thinking “why am I frightened?” This implies that she is so accustomed to being oppressed she is almost scared to take the chance of freedom that is being handed to her. This portrays a sense of dehumanisation in terms of female characters as freedom is regarded as a basic human right. It can also be argued that Atwood’s presentation of female characters has connotations to the idea of them being brainwashed by society. In chapter thirteen Janine testifies about how she was raped at the age of 14 and also
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