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Explore the issues concerning women and feminism raised in the novel The Handmaid's tale.

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  • Essay length: 1782 words
  • Submitted: 12/09/2003
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GCSE Margaret Atwood

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Explore the issues concerning women and feminism raised in the novel

The Handmaid's tale was written in 1986 during the rise of the opposition to the feminist movement. Atwood, a Native American, was a supporter of this movement. In this novel, which reflects on the antifeminist messages given to women by the fundamentalist New Right in the 1980's, Atwood portrays in detail just what might follow: the virtual enslavement of women, their reduction to mere functions. Her purpose in writing this serious satire is to warn women of what the female gender stands to lose if the feminist movement were to fail. In this essay, I am going to look at the issues concerning women and feminism in The Handmaid's Tale.

In the Republic of Gilead, the masculine code is carried to the extreme in the regime's assignment of women to various classes - the wives, the Handmaids, the Martha's, the Econo-wives, and the Aunts - according to their functions. As a result of the sexual freedom, free abortion and high increase of venereal diseases at the end of the twentieth century, many women are sterile. The women who are still fertile are recruited as Handmaids,

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