The Society Of Gilead Vs. Today’s Society
“The Handmaid’s Tale” is a futuristic account of specifically the life of women in a dreamed-of society in the Republic of Gilead. It is a society of dystopia, wherein much as the desire for ideals be perpetuated, there are seeming flaws that come about. The women are still subjugated in a sense as everything about their lives are programmed by the totalitarian, theocratic rule of the Republic of Gilead. Government control is imposed on fertile women whose responsibility and obligation is to produce babies for elite couples are infertile. These women are designated as “handmaids”.
They do not have any rights and freedom. They are punished if they refuse to do their designated duties. The concept of the society in Gilead is an adventure to the possible values that might come around if the human race becomes biologically unproductive. Feminism as a movement in the present day society has been tackling and positioning so many issues that dwell on the women’s responsibility and welfare towards their role in society. From the amendment of the Equal Rights, to the prominence gained by the religious right – the issues about women and their true place is society has been a continuous struggle.
As today’s society is still struggling for such true meaning of womanhood, the society of Gilead as categorically, strictly and conclusively defined it. Within the context of novels of dystopia, the purpose of the narrative is to alarm present social managers to the possibilities if things in today’s societies are not checked and truly resolved and harmoniously put into perspective. For example, since the decade of the 80’s the issue of pornography is still raging. Women of present day society strongly oppose the use of women who allow themselves to be used in pornography as it debases the integrity and meaning of being a woman.
“After all, it was the need to protect ‘good’ women from sex that justified all manner of repression in the 19th century, including confining them to the home, barring them from participating in the arts, and voting. ” (Brians, 2004, para 3) So, in the Gilead society, this same sense of protection is imposed on women to ensure that their true meaning and function is simply realized. The finality of eradicating the perception of today’s society that women are objects is realized in the society of Gilead because a woman’s responsibility is to bear children. As a totalitarian society, Gilead categorized its people.
Even their dress and clothes are coded in color and style. Each category of the citizens, the people have very specific and control duties and responsibilities. Inspite of control and discipline resentments and discrimination could still not be avoided. But control is necessary in a totalitarian state. “Nothing is purely private: normal behavior and daily life could be subordinated to he values of the regime. Total control was necessary if the prevailing ideology was to be implemented. The totalitarian state was dominated not simply by police but by an intellectual idea. ” (Curtis, 1979, P. 49)
In today’s democratic and free societies, an individual has every ways and means to pursue his status in life and society: by his own labor and merits. The freedom of man in today’s society is a long fought achievement that is respected and treasured. The free man designs his destiny; drives his present actions; identify his future; build is dreams; fulfill his plans. In a nutshell, the standards and rules so called imposed in the Republic of Gilead as they try to establish discipline, definition and design appropriate for its citizen that will contribute to the success of the country – turn out to be farce and ineffective.
The society that was tried to be established in Gilead could nevertheless still be the “same rose by anther name”, from the society of today. Works Cited: Atwood, Margaret. “The Handmaid’s Tale”. 1998 Anchor, 1st Anchor Books Edition Brians, Paul. “Study Guide to Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid’s Tale (1986). ” Department of English, Washington State University, Pullman, 24 Sept 2004 http://www. wsu. edu/~brians/science_fiction/handmaid. html (accessed 2 Feb 2009) Curtis, Michael. “Totalitarianism”. 1979 Transaction PublishersSample Essay of EduBirdie.com