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Word Count: 1,167
Themes Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work Womens Bodies as Political Instruments - Because Gilead was formed in response to the crisis caused by dramatically decreased birthrates the states entire structure with its religious trappings and rigid political hierarchy is built around a single goal control of reproduction The state tackles the problem head-on by assuming complete control of womens bodies through their political subjugation Women cannot vote hold property or jobs read or do anything else that might allow them to become subversive or independent and thereby undermine their husbands or the state Despite all of Gileads pro-women rhetoric such subjugation creates a society in which women are treated as subhuman They are reduced to their fertility treated as nothing more than a set of ovaries and a womb In one of the novels key scenes Offred lies in the bath and reflects that before Gilead she considered her body an instrument of her desires now she is just a mound of flesh surrounding a womb that must be filled in order to make her useful Gilead seeks to deprive women of their individuality in order to make them docile carriers of the next generation Language as a Tool of Power - Gilead creates an official vocabulary that ignores and warps reality in order to serve the needs of the new societys elite Having made it illegal for women to hold jobs Gilead creates a system of titles Whereas men are defined by their military rank women are defined solely by their gender roles as Wives Handmaids or Marthas Stripping them of permanent individual names strips them of their individuality or tries to Feminists and deformed babies are treated as subhuman denoted by the terms Unwomen and Unbabies Blacks and Jews are defined by biblical terms Children of Ham and Sons of Jacob respectively that set
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