Freedom in "The Handmaid's Tale"
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This paper discusses the meaning of freedom in the novel "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood. The paper shows how in the context of this novel, "freedom to" and "freedom from" are both characterized in terms of women's roles. The paper asserts that real freedom has to include both "freedom to" and "freedom from," and this is true for the men in the novel and in real society as well.
From the Paper:"Following Aunt Lydia's categories, Offred has "freedom from" harassment as she walks down the street, making her own decisions, having her own life, even freedom from failing. She never has to choose what to wear because she always wears the same thing--a habit, said to be "a good name for them" because "Habits are hard to break" (24-25). She has freedom from the right to go where she wishes, for the handmaids are watched by Guardians, especially when they are pregnant and in need of protection because "it's dangerous for he to be out, there must be a Guardian standing outside the door, waiting for her" (26). In Atwood's vision, the revival of family values so touted by a conservative segment in American society today has come to pass in a way that highlights control, subordination, and the isolation of women and their biological functions into a ghetto that is society-wide and that is enforced most brutally. Also revived is the power of class conflict and a social hierarchy, and though Offred and her mistress may seem worlds apart, both are controlled in this male-dominated society in ways that determine every aspect of their lives, limit their choices, and return them to a time when women were expected to know their place and stay in it."
Cite this Analytical Essay:
Freedom in "The Handmaid's Tale" (2003, October 17) Retrieved February 28, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/freedom-in-the-handmaid-tale-35726/
"Freedom in "The Handmaid's Tale"" 17 October 2003. Web. 28 February. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/freedom-in-the-handmaid-tale-35726/>