Jonathan Tzu Chieh Lin
Jonathan Tzu Chieh Lin
31 May 2018
Successful Methods used by Gilead for Oppression of Women
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood foreshadows a dystopian world which may appear in the future.In the story, people are oppressed, social hierarchy is implemented and women are viewed as reproduction tool in Gilead.The regime complies inhuman rules and brute social system for the purpose of managing and reforming the society effectively.The novel reveals the successful approaches of women’s exploitation and society reconstruction by the Gileadean government, in regards to the manipulation incurred by removal of identity, constant surveillance and indoctrination.
First of all, removal of identity is one of the ways which the regime employs its political power to condition women.In the story, some women lose own identity by being deprived of their names.For example, Offred says “My name isn't Offred, I have another name, which nobody uses now because it's forbidden”(Atwood 95).The government gives a part of female group called the Handmaid a new name beginning with “of”, and their original names are prohibited as well as erased.For the new name, the word “of” means being owned by someone and it also can infer that the Handmaid is the property belonging to the Commander. The type of women is deemed as an object instead of a human being, and their original identities are lost and no longer exist.Additionally, all women lose own property by being stripped of their savings.For instance, Offred recalls the situation in the past, “When I’d finished, she said, Tried getting anything on your Compucard today? Yes, I said.I told her about that too.They’ve frozen them, she said. Mine too.The collective’s too.Any account with an F on it instead of an M. All they needed to do is push a few buttons.We’re cut off”(206).The event is hold at the start of coup, Offred’s and Moira’s accounts are disabled and deactivated by the dominator.At that time, women’s status is lost through the state of pennilessness, as money is considered to be a symbol of power in the pre-Gilead world.The quotation also indicates the government is powerful enough to control the bank easily.This consequence leads Offred to feel panic and let her need to count on others such as the man Luke.Lose of social position and value is a successful way toward the oppression and confinement of women.
In addition to exploitation of identity, constant surveillance is another method that Gilead uses to govern women.The government monitors and keeps watch over the action of citizens especially the Handmaid through the Eye.According to Offred’s thought, it says “He looks at me, and sees me looking …... Perhaps he was merely being friendly. Perhaps he saw the looks on my face and mistook it for something else ..…. Perhaps it was a test, to see what I would do.Perhaps he is an eye”(20).There is a group of people called the Eye who is responsible for observing the residents in the society.Offred thinks Nick may belong to the Eye so it causes her to feel scared and come to police herself.Furthermore, the paragraph demonstrates the role of the Eye makes women not dare to offend any rule.The other point proves the effectiveness of the method is that the women are arrested and patrolled by the Aunts and the Angels in the gym in the process of Gilead society’s construction.To illustrate the condition, there is a paragraph describes “Aunt Sara and Aunt Elizabeth patrolled; they had electric cattle prods slung on thongs from their leather …... Guns were for the guards, specially picked from the Angels.They were objects of fear to us, but of something else as well”(4).Female population are managed constantly by the head of women management center called the Aunt in this period.Although the Aunts have some power to govern other women, they are still constrained to be not qualified to have guns because of the female gender. Therefore, all women include the Aunts are living under the surveillance of the male guardians the Angels.To summarize the idea, uninterrupted monitor is effective to control female population.
The other method used by Gilead to manipulate women is brainwashing.One of the supporting ideas is about government interprets the meaning of the Bible in a distorted way.
A case in point is that the prayer read with a man’s voice, “Blessed be the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the merciful.Blessed be the meek. Blessed are the silent. I knew they made that up, I knew it was wrong, and they left things out, too, but there was no way of checking. Blessed be those that mourn, for they shall be comforted”(110).This content of the Bible is used to encourage the Handmaid to accept these characteristics, Gilead indoctrinates the concept concerning to those are women’s natures.So as to follow the God’s will, be blessed and be comforted in the heaven, the government pretends that God wishes women to have the traits but actually those are men want women to have.Among these personalities, silence is the main one because Gilead requires female to be submissive not to protest or pose any of their opinions.This text is brainwashing women to be passive.Moreover, the regime incurs the activist of feminism to be submissive by implantation of twisted concept.The two quotes about the character Moira can be the examples, “Moira had power now, she’d been set loose, she’d set herself loose.She was now a loose woman. I think we found this frightening. Moira was like an elevator with open sides.She made us dizzy.Already we were losing the taste for freedom, already we were finding these walls secure. In the upper reaches of the atmosphere you’d come apart, you’d vaporize, there would be no pressure holding you together”(154) and “So here I am. They even give you face cream”(261).The former illustrates that Moira was the incentive who leaded other women and kept them going but female group now begins to not believe the freedom anymore. According to the first quote, it can infer the center is efficient and succeeds to teach women to trust the new government.The latter depicts Moira was a girl who had strong spirit and tried to escape from the captivity of the regime before.However, when Offred meets her again in the Jezebel’s, Moira completely satisfies the present situation, she gives up rather than tries to go against the unreasonable circumstance.Both examples demonstrates the minds of women and Moira are controlled by the indoctrination of the government eventually.To conclude the point, brainwashing is successful for suppressing women in the new society.
In conclusion, based on the variety of evidences mentioned in the essay, it is clear that Gilead uses the approaches of exploitation of identity, constant surveillance and brainwashing successfully to fear and manipulate women then further reorganize society.According to many historical events took place before, the book is made to depicts a world with woman living under the manipulation of the government, and it is used by the author to forecast the worst condition which may occur soon in the future even may happen presently. Therefore, people should start to focus on the issue which happens in the Handmaid’s tale.