The central social hierarchy within the novel is the gender hierarchy, placing men in a position of extreme power. This is evident in every aspect of the book, as the entire Gilead society is male dominated. The Commander is at the top of the hierarchy and is involved with designing and establishing the current society taking control of a nation of women, and exploiting their power by controlling what is taught, what they can teach themselves and the words that they can use. Soon all of the women will become brainwashed, simply because it is made nearly impossible to defy the rules The Eye is the next highest up and are used as spies to keep the society the way it is and make sure no one consorts against it. Angel's are next because they are men so they are higher then all women. Their job is to make sure they are all safe and basically the police force. Men are the only ones who may drive cars, own property, have bank accounts, work, or even read from the Bible or any other text.
The next highest up is the commander's wife. She has writes and privileges about all other women. Aunt's are responsible for getting the handmaids ready for their society. They pound the ideas of the new culture into the handmaid's head so that when they enter it seems normal.
Handmaids are the next class, they are the only women who can reproduce they are forced to have children for upper class couples women are often compromised by a forced sexual nature, thereby allowing them to be blamed for problems of conception. Handmaids show which Commander owns them by adopting their Commanders' names, such as Fred, and preceding them with "Of." I.e. Offred is one of these unfortunate servants who are only right to exist depends on her ovaries productivity. She lives with her commander and his wife in a highly supervised centre. All female characters in the text are only mentioned in relationship to a male owner of some sort. We find out about how women are treated as walking wombs when