A Woman or A Tool?

Having read through the latest chapters of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, I get the impression of the handmaid’s being less of a person and more of a tool of use even though they were originally people who had lives that anyone else would’ve had if it were in our world. They were people who had the right to live the life they wanted, until that right was taken away and they were forced to live

In the Republic of Gilead, the women are always exposed to the oppression of women where ever they go, whether its in the homes the are currently staying in to anywhere as far as the eye could see. If something happened to a woman, than the fault falls upon the woman which is made apparent when Aunt Helena throws in her two cents and says ” But whose fault was it? Aunt Helena says , holding up one plump finger” (72) with everyone around going along and repeats “Her fault . She did” (72). The chant that everyone says also encourages this mentality you are now a tool which leads the Janine breaking down mentally. So not only does this encourage breaking people so that they are easier to manipulate, it also encourages people to be do the same and also harass people till they break mentally.

When it comes to Offred, she isn’t any different from the rest of the handmaid’s when it comes to being a once free woman to being a more submissive or “broken” person compared to what she used to be to some degree. When she is going to the commanders office she feels like “A child who’s been summoned, at school, to the principal’s office. What have I done wrong?” (136). Its as if Offred had reverted to a child mentality. Instead of believing that she was called in to the office for a chat or a game, she believes that she got herself into trouble and is being brought in for punishment at first. When she finds out that she was called in for a game of scrabble she thinks ” Now of course it’s something different. Now it’s forbidden, for us. Now it’s dangerous. Now it’s indecent. Now it’s something he can’t do with his wife. Now he’s desirable. Now he’s compromised himself. It’s as if he’s offered me drugs” (138~139). The mentality of being submissive has been hammered into the handmaid’s to the point where things that were once people did for entertainment had become a drug for them.

When everyone was chanting “Her fault” and ” She did” to Janine, the ones that were chanting were actually enjoying the bullying that they were giving to Janine. By doing so not only do they discourage others from being themselves, they also encourage people to do the same whenever someone brings up anything against men. Just like what would happen in a school when there is a bully harassing a student. The bully gets enjoyment out of harassing the student, the people around the bully also enjoy it, but instead of the school punishing the bully for harassing, the school is actually encouraging the bully to do it.

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