Restrictions

Upon reading Parts III-VIII, it was clear to me how restrictive women’s lives were in the current situation. The handmaid’s were not permitted to read at all, which would drastically change one’s perspective on viewing everyday things. To read was forbidden, and during the ceremony the handmaids were permitted to watch the news when Serena turned on the TV. In such conditions, I wouldn’t doubt if everything depicted on the TV was either fake or skewed in such a way to alter the way the women at the center think. Offred also briefly mentioned the possibility of drugs in the food, which I believe could explain the very small amount of people trying to “break out.”

It becomes more clear that women, especially handmaids are just looked upon as “tools” and not people equally as everyone else. What confuses me is the fact that Offred vaguely says that she chose this decision or life, and now she has to live with it until Luke can save her. Such restrictions she has “agreed” to completely control all aspects of her current life. She states that, “–songs are not sung anymore in public, especially the ones that use words like free. They are considered too dangerous.” (54) This shows that she has no real power over even her own decisions at the center. The situation with Janine also shows how skewed everyones perceptions are at the center. Janine may have quite possibly been the victim, but the Aunts made sure she blamed it on her self, as did everyone else. The handmaids changed “Her fault, her fault, her fault.” (72) They seem to do much chanting of ideas or beliefs that must be burned into their minds. Janine eventually says, “it was my own fault, I led them on. I deserved the pain.” (72) I believe many conflicts are solved like this at the center.

I find the small flashbacks or memories Offred has to be interesting. Small items, such as remember that a desk had an armwrest for students to write on, the accidental showing of signs with text on the TV, and face lotion all had small connections to her past. Now, handmaids are not permitted to write or read so she always gets reminded about memories in her past when she gets the opportunity to read/write. Any man who she comes into even the slightest non-customary attention of also seems to remind her of her husband Luke.

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