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The Handmaids Tale A Parable of Womans Role The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood is set in the near future in the Republic of Gilead formerly the United States A religious extremist right-wing movement assassinated the president and congress and took complete control of the governmentThe constitution was suspended and liberties revoked Women found themselves completely subordinated in the new regime generally assigned to the legal care of a male guardian Offred the main character of the story was fortunate in many ways Because she was still fertile she was not branded an Unwoman and sent to the Colonies where thousands of individuals deemed undesirable by the government were sent to toil in toxic plants and agricultural camps Instead her fate was to become a handmaid Birthrates were declining in the republic so a fertile female became a prized commodity Since Offred had been divorced prior to the revolution the religious leaders controlling the government saw fit to take her from her second husband and child and assign her to a guardian a high ranking male Her sole purpose in life with the guardian was to become pregnant Once a month an insemination ceremony would take place during which the guardian would attempt to impregnate Offred while his wife read passages from the bible to them All three remained clothed and there was no passion involved In the course of her life as a handmaid Offred discovers more about Gilead Her secondary duty after getting pregnant was to go into town each day and purchase food She gradually makes contact with another handmaid Ofglen who introduces her to the underground movement against the republic She eventually becomes involved in a number of illegal activities and eventually is forced to try and escape The Handmaids Tale is really about the role of women in society If it were possible to eliminate women from Gilead it seems that the republic would have done
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