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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Document length: 861 words

Discuss the society of Gilead in the sections have read so far The society is based upon different classes, in some form of hierarchy. The society is very patriarchal, yet the society

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Introduction

Discuss the society of Gilead in the sections have read so far The society is based upon different classes, in some form of hierarchy. The society is very patriarchal, yet the society depends on what is done by the women. Among the top of the hierarchy are the Commander, Aunts, Angels and Guards. The Handmaids and Marthas are examples of the lower end of the hierarchy. This hierarchy is shown in the opening chapter when Offred describes that the Aunts. Despite the Aunts being the controlling forces in the hierarchy, they cannot carry guns. This is evident in the following quote: "No guns though, even they could not be trusted with guns." This shows that the Angels do not trust the Aunts. However the guards are trusted with guns as they are "specially picked" from the Angels. The hierarchy is evident in the fourth paragraph already, as it shows the lines of control from the Angels to the Guards and Aunts.

Middle

This was written by one handmaid, to be read by the next. The colour-coded uniforms the handmaids and marthas wear are used to remove their identity. The uniform Offred wears consists of red, and the writer shows Offred's views on this in the following quote: "Everything...around my face is red: the colour of blood, which defines us." Offred also refuses to call the room "my room". This shows she doesn't accept what is going on in their society, and refuses to admit she belongs there. When the Marthas are mentioned, Offred mentions that "...Marthas are not supposed to fraternise with us", which shows that even though the Marthas are servants, the girls are forbidden to speak to them. In the opening of chapter 3, the wives' are described. Their gardens are what they "order and maintain and care for". They knit to take up spare time. These hobbies compensate for the fact that the wives cannot conceive children, and it gives them a sense of purpose.

Conclusion

This is evident from the following quote: "I wanted to think that I would have liked her..." This could possibly mean that their working relationship could have been a lot better. The handmaids' relationship with the Econowives is also very bad, as The guardians in Gilead all have the male jobs such as driving the cars and repairing things, while the women cook and clean. This is a very stereotypical view of a household. When Offred goes on her walks into town, she is winked at by a guardian. She automatically shows her insecurity by assuming that this guardian could be an eye, just winking to see what they will do. This shows that the interactions between the guardians and handmaids are forbidden, and this guardian appears to be rebelling against this. The narrator never took the wink for its real meaning; instead regarding it as a test or thinking that he is an eye.

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