Depiction of women in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale


  • B. Muthulakshmi M.A., M.Phil. Ph.D. Full- Time Research Scholar ManonmaniamSundaranar University, Abishekapatti, Tirunelveli-12. India


Colonialism may be seen as a mirror of patriarchy in feminist literary criticism. In The Handmaid’s Tale, “the colonies†represents in a negative sense, as a symbol of exploitation, isolation and alienation. Many novels of Atwood deal with women’s experience in a male dominated culture. Gilead is a highly alienating structure of society, especially for women. They are forbidden to read and write, that is a man’s privilege in Gilead. When Gilead first came into being, they had been freeze all the mandatory effects in liberation of women. Women’s identity and individuality had lost by taking away their names from them. Prostitution was justified in Gilead. The Handmaid’s role was the most dehumanized. Handmaids were valued only as walking wombs, for their child – bearing function, annihilating all other personal traits. Suicide is one of the ways in which the women in Gilead attempt escape from their intolerable oppression. Therefore, the Gilead administration takes preventive measures to block the particular escape route. Ultimately Offred is rescued by Nick, the underground Mayday resistance group in the “black vanâ€. Women attain their freedom only through self- realisation. Once they realise their situation and capabilities, surely there will be a great long and strive for emancipation.


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