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The Handmaids Tale: Reality of an Oppressive Society The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood is a masterpiece of a fiction.

It pictures a situation that's a symbol of present-day reality that is why it bugs the readers' minds of its inherent irony. It highlights the stereotypes that come with genders and how one gender is severely oppressed by the other. This novel unravels the issue of Sexism through the setting, characters and point of view. The setting of the story served as an avenue to exemplify how oppressed the female sector is, despite many interventions to solve gender differentiation. The story took place in the Republic of Gilead, a city in the Northern American region wherein the democratic society is debunked and replaced with a totalitarian onethe state holds total authority over the society and longs to control all of public and private life wherever necessary. As how the narrator describes the setting, The lawns are tidy, the faades are gracious, in good repair; they're like the beautiful pictures they used to print in the magazines about homes and gardens and interior decoration. There is the same absence of people, the same air of being asleep As in those pictures, those museums, those model towns, there are no children. This society is addressed to be the future, wherein physically it looks calm and peaceful, yet in reality conspiracies and cahoots surround its existence. The lack of childrens images conveys that the hope of the society who are the youth, are hidden in the eyes of the Republic of Gilead. This further implies that freedom is now barely felt by the peopleno leeway for self-expression, no opportunities for personal decisions and most especially no chance for a gender-sensitive society. The womens role is barred only for reproductionan object of sexual desire; nothing more, nothing less. If you are labeled an unwoman, who cannot satisfy the so-called needs of society, then you are simply equated as worthless. But how far is our present-day society different in the perspective of Gilead? Not far at all. The characters in the story express the societal issue of Sexism through the identities they portrayed. Initially, the Commander in the story best exemplifies this concept. He is a man who

is accountable for the current situation of Gilead due to his positionthe so-called empowerment of women through theocratic means, the trashing of pre-Gilead norms to establish the real society and the re-education of people with unconventional policies and norms; however, he used his position to access the past societyplaying scrabble, reading literature and just ultimately negating the Gilead ways he created himself. He lured Offred with his capacity to access these materials in the initial intention to help her with what she's going through, yet it turned out that this is solely for his personal gainto have recreational extramarital sex. The commander's actions of basically attracting Offred in the context to access the pre-Gilead society can be compared on how the patriarchal society of Gilead lured the women in believing that they can protect their femininity. But in reality, the men just became more powerful and the women more afflicted. Secondly, Moira's identity as a lesbian is suppressed in the society of Gilead. This fearless, strong and courageous woman became trapped in Jezebels and its world of prostitution. She was forced to get out of her comfort zone and deal with men, even if she's satisfied that her co-workers are also her preference; her image as the ultimate epitome of a feminist is crushed to bits, burned and killed by Gilead norms and policies. Lastly, Serena Joy's character is ironic in itself. She is on top of the female ladder in the Gilead society, yet shes still not satisfied with what she achieved. The irony of her situation simply implies that even the women who have access to power are still not happy with how powerless they really are in the eyes of a society rooted in patriarchymale gender acts as the primary authority figure central to all societal concerns. The point of view of Offred, the narrator in the story that is in the first person, is the central unit that opens up how women are generally oppressed despite efforts to change their situation. All of the readers knowledge regarding Gilead and its way of life came from Offreds worldviewa mother taken away from her family and turned into a slave of theocratic beliefs. She explains how all the efforts of her totalitarian society to teach her the new way of life still did not erase her thoughts on what she left behind because deep inside she knows that this society

is simply a facade of the real issue of womens oppression. Power is given to the men and all of them are considered fertile despite the reality some men go sterile, while women can be labeled as an unwoman. This symbolizes that true liberation of womens role stereotypes will come not from the perspective of the opposite gender, but from themselves. Unless a woman seats in power to represent all the issues they are experiencingmultiple burdens, unequal job opportunities, and the sole responsibility of child rearing, then true reformation cannot be achieved. Furthermore, Offred explains that even if Gilead doctrines instill in the minds of the people that womens rights are much more protected in their totalitarian society; the reality is that it further suppresses their rights. This can be compared on how the present society instills in womens minds that a feminist revolution is starting. But why cant a woman go out late at night, party until the morning and go home alone? This cliffhanger question disrupts a mind that seeks for real answers. The elements of fiction truly surmised the issue of Sexism that is prevalent in the text of The Handmaids Tale. The settings faade as a perfect and peaceful city despite its reality as a disorderly and trouble-filled, can be compared on how the present-day society may look as if its in the direction of true liberation between both genders rights but what is really felt by the people is merely an ambiguous liberty. The characters ironic situation in the story suggests that gender roles are still segregated in our society despite all the efforts of reformation and interventions. The narrators point of view merely suggests that womans experiences are far more repressive than that of a man and the guts of a woman to face her on-going repression is courage in itself. As the famous saying goes, The only constant thing in this world is change. I believe that the text challenges all of us to become fully aware of the reality of oppression between sexes and to build on evolving in creating a world that can be called equal and equitable.

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