Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale

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Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale has been celebrated as a feminist dystopian novel, a work of science fiction and speculative fiction and the novelist offers a fascinating vision of the modern society which is fundamentally knocked over by a theocratic revolution…

Introduction

In the novel, Atwood tells the story of Offred, a Handmaid who is separated from her husband and child after the formation of the Republic of Gilead, and she is serving in the household of the mysterious Commander and his ruthless wife. The novelist presents the subjugation of women in the modern society where women's bodies are treated as political instruments. Although the Republic of Gilead is known for its pro-women rhetoric, there is crucial subjugation of the women in the society in which they are treated as subhuman. The novel also deals with the theme of language as a tool of power. The essential question that the novel deals with is who will control women's bodies in the world of the near future. The protagonist contrasts the way she used to think about her body to the way she thinks about it now, when she sits in the bath. "I used to think of my body as an instrument, of pleasure, or a means of transportation, or an implement for the accomplishment of my will . . . Now the flesh arranges itself differently. I'm a cloud, congealed around a central object, the shape of a pear, which is hard and more real than I am and glows red within its translucent wrapping." (Atwood, 73) Therefore, Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale can be best realized as a novel which predominantly deals with the plight of the women who are in subjugation.
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