In The Handmaid's Tale, why did they use this architectural style?

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The architecture in The Handmaid's Tale is, first, very traditional and orderly. Offred describes the yard of her Commander's home as strictly kept, noting that it is bisected by:

the gravel path that divides the back lawn, neatly, like a hair parting.

As she walks to the market she observes...

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The architecture in The Handmaid's Tale is, first, very traditional and orderly. Offred describes the yard of her Commander's home as strictly kept, noting that it is bisected by:

the gravel path that divides the back lawn, neatly, like a hair parting.

As she walks to the market she observes white picket fences and clean red brick sidewalks. She notices that the sidewalks are cleaner than they used to be.

In her privileged section of the city, the houses have facades that:

are gracious, in good repair; they’re like the beautiful pictures they used to print in the magazines about homes and gardens and interior decoration.

In part, the new rulers of Gilead have simply colonized the pre-existing traditional architecture of the area, but they have made it neater, more orderly, and more repressed, reflecting their emphasis on restoring an imagined traditional Christian society of times past.

An addition new to Gilead is an architecture of violence and repression. Offred describes this when she observes what has been added to an old brick wall in the city:

Now the gates have sentries and there are ugly new floodlights mounted on metal posts above it, and barbed wire along the bottom and broken glass set in concrete along the top.

She also notes the "pillboxes" on the streets where armed guards oversee the pedestrians.

Overall, the architecture of Gilead reflects a society built on hierarchy, fear, and repression. The elite running the culture loathes the new, the messy, the modern, and the egalitarian as symptoms of everything they believe ruined the former society by making it too free and chaotic to function well. The Gilead architecture, be it new or repurposed structures, is meant to clamp down on people, erase individualism, proclaim a Christian state, and reinforce traditional patriarchal ideals.

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