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How does Margaret Atwood portray the role of women in the Republic of Gilead The Republic of Gilead allows Offred only one function to reproduce She has a choice this or death Through The Handmaids Tale Margaret Atwood conjures up a terrifying image of a society that has completely reversed all its ideologies and principles Setting it in America the country often seen as the pinnacle of all things Western and modern shocks us due to the complete contrast Women are completely suppressed by men and their position in society is completely determined by the status of their husband and their fertility Women are strictly categorised in Gilead they are Handmaids Wives Marthas Econowives or Aunts Offred is a Handmaid She showed her fertility in pre-Gilead society by having a daughter but she is not allowed to be a Wife as she was once divorced Wives are those married to Commanders men in senior positions in society Although they have quite elevated status they have no power Infertile wives the majority are allocated Handmaids who have sex with their husbands in order to give them a child Marthas are servants of Commanders and Econowives are those married to common men Aunts are older infertile women dedicated to the regime who train Handmaids By referring to women as their category and not their individual name Atwood impersonalises these women making them representative of their whole category within Gilead This gives the book extra depth making it more than just a fictional autobiography but a study of women as a whole in certain situations Before Gilead was created Offred the heroine of the story was a normal woman She worked in a library was married for the second time to a man Luke who she was very much in love with and had a young daughter An intelligent women who had been well educated and had gone to university she symbolised normal politically
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