The Position Of Women In Our Society.
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The Position Of Women In Our Society Margaret Attwood predominantly chooses to exaggerate the oppression faced by women in today's society, in order to show its effects in Gilead. In spite of this, some frightening parallels can still be drawn. These parallels are not always explicitly set out by Attwood, rather they are implicitly implied furthering Attwood's intended effect of realisation that similar events to those in Gilead, actually take place in certain societies of the world we live in. This implicitness leaves the reader able to use their own imagination to find examples of these particular types of oppression rather than simply referring to events in the middle east or in parts of Afghanistan, for example. This novel quite clearly gives more importance to its female characters rather than the males, of which there are only three of note (Luke, Nick and the Commander). Any references to these three are also limited to simply parts of the narrative being told, rather than being given the opportunity to express any real emotions or to be involved in direct dialogue.
Again this is an attempt to encourage parallels to be drawn, especially with recent events in certain parts of the world where public stonings of women who have committed adultery have become commonplace. This of course encourages a desire to distance our own society from events like this by giving women the respect they deserve, thus improving their position in society. There is a slight irony in the way in which Attwood seems to promote equality. After all the violence being instigated by male characters, Attwood sometimes juxtaposes this against acts of violence by a female character i.e. the Aunts or the Particicution. Both genders can express their good natures as well as their not-so-good natures however, both must still be viewed equally, is the message Attwood hopes to promote. By pushing down the integrity of men throughout the novel, indirectly it pushes up the portrayal of women. Constant digs are directed at the pompous nature of upper-class males, beginning with the Commander and climaxing in the language used in the Historical Notes.
Why? Because the artists are messy. They don't fit.' This particular paragraph shows Attwood highlighting the way in which non-conformists are sometimes discarded as being outcasts and their views and opinions are not taken seriously enough. Again Attwood is hoping that she has done something to improve these peoples' position in society. One of the main messages in this novel is the importance of women in society as much more than simply child-bearers. Gilead quite literally has the Handmaids only fulfilling this particular purpose with their lives. The novel aims to show that there is much more to women and their value is not given the recognition it deserves. Within this very much patriarchal regime, without the co-operation and enforcement of the women in power, for example the aunts, the regime would collapse. This is a parallel that Attwood hopes can be drawn with our own society and in some way lead to this recognition, that she feels women have been neglected of, of being an integral part of society with just as much importance, if not more, in the way we live our lives today. By Amandeep Bindra 12E
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