Handmaid's Tale - Manipulation of Power

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Grade 11 English Analytical Essay

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Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is a disturbing novel that displays the presence and manipulation of power. This is displayed throughout the novel and is represented significantly in three ways. As the book takes place in the republic of Gilead, the elite in society are placed above every other individual who are not included in their level. Secondly, men are placed at the top of the chain and they significantly overpower women in the society (elite or not). Finally the individuals within the elite society also overpower each other and have their own separate roles. This can be interpreted as a chain. Men of the elite are placed at the top, the men who less elite are placed after then comes the women who are at the bottom. This distinguishes the ‘level’ of authority each group has which evidently shows the corruption in the structure of the society.

The society was formed in the near future within the United States borders. The plan began with a false terrorist attack that assumingly murdered the president that overthrew the United States’ government. This lead access to electronic banking that was manipulated to strip the rights of all women and the ‘undesirables’. After manipulating the middle class society it was then reorganized to be an unfair hierarchal environment. As the members of the elite in society obtain power from this manipulation, they are placed above any other individual. This is evidently shown as each position of authority is distinguished by colour (dress code) and a certain title that separates the elite from the women and the ‘undesirables’. The majority of the elites are men and they are divided into five categories, four of which are considered elite and one that is considered an ‘undesirable’. While the women are divided into nine categories, five of which are considered legitimate and two that are considered illegitimate. However, all in all, legitimate or...
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