lllustration of six women wearing long, loose red dresses

The Handmaid's Tale

by Margaret Atwood

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How does the setting in "The Handmaid's Tale" reinforce the way women are treated in these societies?

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Let me say up front that it has been some time since I studied this novel in depth; however, I did write my rhetorical analysis on it in college. I would say that the major setting the women are in, the home, would say a lot about a woman's place in traditional society. Look at it this way, the women of the novel are in places that reflect, directly what a woman's role is. In bed, she is needed to reproduce and give the man pleasure, that is one role filled. In the kitchen, a woman's role is to prepare food for the men of the household. In the garden, again, goes to growing food and nurturing. In the market - same as the garden. Even the wives in blue spend time in the garden and are otherwise idle but in the house, not venturing out into the man's world. The women in the highrise, the sex slaves - if you will, they are there only to please the men in any of their perverse desires. So there you have, at least, a very basic beginning I hope.

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