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Control In The Handmaid's Tale

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Control In The Handmaid's Tale
Throughout our world’s history, there have been many oppressive regimes; much of these share many of the same methods of control. In Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale, the government in power uses various methods to keep control over the people. In this story, the United States has been overtaken by a theocracy called the Republic of Gilead. The story follows a young woman through her struggles in this new oppressive nation. The Republic of Gilead displays its dominance by implementing a caste system, holding constant surveillance over its people, and performing mass killings.
This new government differs greatly from the democracy in the United States. Women can no longer work, possess money, or hold property; all of their rights have been stripped. Women’s new purpose in society is solely childbirth. All women, along with most men, are devalued and forced into a rigid caste system. People in Gilead are not offered the opportunity to purposefully work their way up in this system, leaving most feeling trapped and with no sense of identity. The main character, Offred, explains this concept: “My name isn't Offred, I have another name, which nobody uses now because it's forbidden. I tell myself it doesn't matter, your name is like your telephone number, useful only to others; but what I tell myself is wrong, it does matter” (Atwood 84). The narrator has been stripped of everything, even her own identity. She no longer holds any power
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Threatening one’s life casts a strong influence over their actions. This is another method the Republic of Gilead uses to keep power. “There are three new bodies on the Wall. One is a priest” (Atwood 43). In the narrator’s town, there is a centrally located wall where the “wrong people” are hanged. Publicly displaying the result of being unorthodox in this society is a powerful scare tactic. Threatening the lives of their nation only increases the power the Republic of Gilded holds over its

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