The Handmaid’s Tale
Examine the representation of social class in The Handmaid’s Tale. How are certain classes empowered and/or disempowered, and why? How does the novel depict the constraints of class difference, community, or alienation, and how does it influence the interpretation of the story?
Social Class in The Handmaid’s Tale
The Handmaid’s Tale takes place in a dystopian society where women are separated by class “social and political power” (Rao 12). Dystopian societies are fictitious societies with brutal state oppression that dehumanize the individual. In the novel, Handmaids are one of the classes in the Republic of Gilead. Although the Handmaids are essential members of society, since their primary responsibility is to reproduce, they are the most oppressed class of women in Gilead. This oppression is displayed through the main character, Offred, who is the property of the Commander. Her main duties are in pleasing the commander, getting a baby for the family and taking care of household duties.
Representation of social class
The representation of social class in The Handmaid’s Tale is displayed by the clearly defined social hierarchy where each class of persons in the novel occupies a clearly defined social position that is determined by the state (i.e. the lower class Marthas who are servants and the upper-class aunts). For instance, Offred belongs to the lower class as she is a servant, a position that will never change as long as she in Gilead. An individual’s social mobility was dependent on their class and gender. Atwood uses the concept of ideological hegemony to show the mechanisms of social control used by the rulers to control women and lower social classes. To effectively consolidate power, the dominant group institutes a class system as a means of social control. The novel displays the constraints of class difference, community and alienation by examining how authoritarian rulers create artificial class differences that dehumanize people, with the aim of maintaining the power of the ruling class.
The representation of a social class is seen through the protagonist of the novel Offred who is considered nothing more than “two-legged wombs” (Atwood 157). The antagonist, the Commander, uses his power to manipulate and regulate the social behavior of those citizens who are rendered powerless because of the state-imposed class system. The main community in the novel is called Gilead which was created in response to a decrease in the population and was aimed at increasing birth rates. The community development resulted in the government creating social classes and taking advantage of fertile women and implementing government restrictions, thereby disempowering the lower class
The novel depicts the role that social class plays in how women treat each other, and how those interactions demoralize the lower class. The Commander’s wives are the most powerful amongst women social classes in the novel. They are referred to as “aunts” while the Marthas are from the lower class and work as domestic servants for the aunts. The handmaids in the story are socially isolated and subject to abusive treatment based on their lower social class. This is evident through Off red’s first visit to the Commander’s house: “she just stood there in the doorway, blocking the entrance. I could not come into the house unless she said so” (Atwood 15). Serena’s behavior indicates that she despises Offred, even though the Commander’s wife needs her more for a baby since Offred is fertile. They both have to put up with each other to get along.
However, Serena further reminded Offred of the power she held in the household where Offred is required to obey as “‘people behave according to the amount of power they have been granted’ ” (Rao). This quote demonstrated how women turned against one another in this dystopian society. It also shows that Serena constantly reminded Offred of her lower class in which she is. Although the Commander’s wives are at the top of the social class of women, they are unable to reproduce and therefore require a handmaid.
Additionally, the social hierarchy also determined what the handmaids were allowed to eat “we’ll get milk and sandwiches, on a tray. However, they have a coffee urn, and bottles of wine” (Atwood 134). This example displays that due to the class system that traps the handmaid’s in a low social position, their body is controlled by the regulation of diet, therefore further showing that what people eat in Gilead is an indication of their social status. As a result of social regulations controlling their behavior, women of the lower classes are alienated from the community and the rest of society who are of a higher social class. For instance, Offred finds a companion in someone who undergoes what she does, at her age.
Throughout the novel, the Commander’s wife uses her power to tell Offred that she should sleep with Nick in order to reproduce as she believes that the Commander is sterile, despite knowing the consequences which Offred might be facing if she is caught with another man. Serena demonstrates how for her own self-interest, she manipulates Offred in an act which can have consequences if Offred is caught. Ultimately, she knows Offred cannot deny this behavior as she is aware that she is running out of time to get pregnant.
Just as the wives use their power derived from their social class in the novel, the men in the novel do so as well. For example, Offred can never decline the Commander’s orders, because she is a handmaid. “But to refuse to see him could be worse. There is no doubt about holds the real power” (Atwood 158). This quote demonstrates that the Commander is manipulative towards the handmaids as he uses them for his companionship and is apathetic toward them.
Handmaids are taught very early at the Red center that their bodies are objects to produce children for the Commander’s and they are brainwashed continuously into believing that they have one objective – to produce children. Handmaids, who are to have babies for higher social class men like the Commander, demonstrate the power exercised by upper-class men. An example of this is Nick’s character “Low Status: he hasn’t been issued a woman, not even one” (Atwood 20). Nick has not been assigned as handmaid due to his lower class ranking in society as he is a guardian, again demonstrating how in this dystopian world autocrats like the Commander have total control over someone’s fate.
In conclusion, The Handmaid’s Tale uses the theme of class differences to influence how handmaids are treated in the Gilead community and to determine which groups of people are empowered and disempowered by the state. The other theme of alienation was used in Off red’s treatment by Serena to demonstrate the power the upper class had over the social interactions of the lower class which Offred held. Serena possessed the power to make Offred feel belittled, by manipulating her into having intercourse with Nick for Serena’s benefit. Further, in Gilead where Commanders held the most power demonstrated that the class below him in the hierarchy was not permitted the same privileges afforded to handmaids. The Handmaid’s Tale provides a stark example of how totalitarian states can exact draconian measures of social control to strictly regulate the behavior of citizens in order to maintain the social standing and power of the rulers.
Rao, Eleonora. Strategies for Identity: The Fiction of Margaret Atwood. New York: Lang, 1993. Print.
Get Professional Assignment Help Cheaply
Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?
Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.
Why Choose Our Academic Writing Service?
- Plagiarism free papers
- Timely delivery
- Any deadline
- Skilled, Experienced Native English Writers
- Subject-relevant academic writer
- Adherence to paper instructions
- Ability to tackle bulk assignments
- Reasonable prices
- 24/7 Customer Support
- Get superb grades consistently
Online Academic Help With Different Subjects
Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.
Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.
While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.
Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.
In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.
Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.
We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!
We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.
Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.
What discipline/subjects do you deal in?
We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.
Are your writers competent enough to handle my paper?
Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.
What if I don’t like the paper?
There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.
- When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
- We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.
In the event that you don’t like your paper:
- The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
- We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
- Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.
Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?
Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.
What if the paper is plagiarized?
We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.
When will I get my paper?
You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.
Will anyone find out that I used your services?
We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.
How our Assignment Help Service Works
1. Place an order
You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.
2. Pay for the order
Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.
3. Track the progress
You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.
4. Download the paper
The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.
PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH US TODAY AND GET A PERFECT SCORE!!!