The Handmaid's Tale is a novel in which all men have power, and all women don't. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a very important question, to which I actually think you can argue both sides. Certainly Gilead, as a theocracy where fertile women are nothing more than "walking wombs" as Offred describes herself, is a world where women's rights are clearly suppressed. Offred's very existence and life is dependent upon her successful conception - time is running out for her, and we are introduced to her as she starts her last assignment after two failures. If she is unsuccessful this time she will be sent to clear up toxic waste which will result in her death after two years.

However, on the other hand, I think it is also important to focus on how Offred is able to use her sexuality as power in the novel. Note the way that the Commander takes her away to the club and Nick creates a plan to save her and smuggle her out of Gilead. It appears that even in the bleakest of situations women are by no means defenceless. Offred shows that she is able to use her sexuality to help herself and also to give her power over men.

So, with your statement, I think it is plausible to look at both sides rather than just side with one. This novel in some ways is a tremendous celebration of the power of women even in the toughest of circumstances.

kathathewombat | Student

I  agree with this statement. Consider that the author describes a society after a Right-wing Christian extremist coup in the United States, in which women have become the legal property of men and have no power at all. 


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The Handmaid's Tale

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