Feminism in the novel The Handmaid’s Tale written by Margaret Atwood is a prominent theme. This novel represents the morals and horrors of a vision of feminism, which is sometimes taken to the extremes. Women’s rights have been downgraded and as a result of this women are used to bear children and are constantly watched by the eye. The Handmaids are considered powerful figures in the novels’ society while living in a dystopia of cultural feminism, which cause them to be degraded women with a loss of identity.
The powerful figures in The Handmaids Tale would be considered the Commander’s wives or the Aunts. Gilead could be represented as a hierarchy with the Commander wives at the top of the pyramid. Beneath the top of the pyramid would be
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The loss of identity is shown when the women convert to the Handmaids with their changed names under constant supervision in a totalitarian state. The loss of identity is prevalent amongst the Handmaids when they have to endure the struggle of control with wearing the same red uniformed dress, not showing their faces. Once the women convert to the now freedom less and strict life of being a Handmaid, their name is changed to only one name beginning with “of” from their given birth name. Offred and Ofglen have these names which are used as slave name for their function. Offred’s name is means “of Fred” which meaning that she belongs to her Commander whose name is Fred. This society on the way women are treated and the way they choose to dress is like a flashback to a past era of time, the 1800s. The Handmaids not only choose but also have a desire to become impregnated by the Commander even though they have wives. They want to be the one who has the ability or even chance to carry a child of the Commanders. They make procreation their life and their duty to conceive. "Give me children, or else I die. Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb? Behold my maid Bilhah. She shall bear fruit upon my knees, that I may also have children by her. (Atwood, 88)" The only task they are allowed to participate in is procreation and they are not allowed to