Life in a Cage

In Margret Atwoods The Handmaids’s Tale we are thrown into a world where the lives of people, women specifically has degraded quite significantly compared to how things once were. Life throughout feels as if the handmaids that are living in the novel are living their lives in a cage without any choice in their lives. Even though we learn of what the roles of the handmaids are which is to be a surrogate mother. Though despite being a surrogate mother, their lives are pretty much restricted to the house which they live in where the handmaids are rarely allowed outside and live as a tool instead of a person.

Reading through The Handmaid’s Tale it feels as if the hand maids are living in a prison more . In chapter 1 of the novel the narrator talks about their current living conditions where “Aunt Sara and Aunt Elizabeth patrolled; they had electric cattle prods slung on thongs from their leather belts”(4). The women here are living as prisoners as if they were locked behind a prison for inmates. There are also the so called “Guards” that watch like the guards of a prison that watch for anyone that attempts to escape. Only let out when they are allowed to go out, living in a giant cage which is the gymnasium which they are currently living in. They live on a routine which is very similar to what inmates live on a daily basis. Wake up, get your meal, exercise, etc. Like a bird that is locked behind a cage that is only allowed out when the owner of the bird lets the bird out. Their only way out is walled off with barbed fences and guards to keep them from leaving.

When Offred first arrives to the new home which she is brought to the first thing the wife Serena the wife of the Commander blocks her way into the house and looks down on her as soon as she arrives. Like the guards of a prison that are trying to show the inmates who is in charge Serena is doing the same with Offred in the line “So, your’e the new one she said. She didn’t step aside to let me in, she just stood there in the doorway, blocking the entrance” (13). their interaction in the sitting room is just like a cigarette when you first use it. A brief introduction and when they were done they avoided each other as much as possible.

The only places that they can go are limited at best like a animal locked in a zoo. They can only go to places where they are allowed to go. In the first chapter the only time the women could go out was when they were allowed to go out and walk around the football field only. The only things that they can do are dictated by others without any choices being made by the handmaids. They are used literally as a tool for the sole use of reproduction because the others are unable to.

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