Importance Of Pregnancy In Gileadean Society

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How does Margaret Atwood depict the importance of pregnancy in the Gileadean society and how it affects the women? Within the innocence of chapter 1, we perceive the Gildeadean Society as a society built around religion, yet progressing further into the book we find that the entire structure of Gilead is built around one thing, reproduction. Apparent dropping birth-rates is what has forced Gilead into a state of control over the population and in particular, women and their bodies. By stripping the women of their various rights, the authorities of Gilead can subject them to the pure use of reproduction, controlling them so as to have control over their bodies. Handmaids are fertile women whose social function is to bear children for the Wives. It’s in chapter 16 that we begin to understand the importance of reproduction in the novel and the process in which this occurs. Described as ‘The Ceremony’ at the beginning of the extract we already can see the planned, scheduled event sex has become and how before it may have been merely a thoughtless act whereas now it’s almost a ritual. A duty for both the Handmaid and Commander. ‘I lie on my back’, this shows a defenceless, vulnerable position ‘fully clothed except for the healthy white cotton underdrawers’, there is an irony of purity here as we see how innocent Offred is in this twisted society. Taking place in the bedroom of the commander and his wife, Offred begins to describe her surroundings, possibly trying to deter her attention from the act being carried out, focusing on other things. This shows the state in which these females have become drawn into, their bodies are merely being used for a process, there is no enjoyment for Offred, and she must simply endure her duty. ‘Or the sail of a ship. Big-bellied ship they used to say, in poems. Bellying. Propelled forward by a swollen belly.’ The language
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