Message

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood can be read as a warning against the restriction of women’s rights and the dangers of patriarchal and authoritarian societies. 

The story conveys a powerful message about how extremist Christian and patriarchal values can be used as an excuse for controlling women’s bodies and actions and for introducing brutal undemocratic laws in a white-supremacist system. In particular, the story warns about how societal problems and racist feeling can be exploited by extremists to introduce a series of restrictive laws. 

This is made particularly obvious in the section when Offred explains how the Gilead regime was introduced. For example, the narrator explains how they shot the President and machine-gunned the Congress and the army declared a state of emergency. They blamed it on the Islamic fanatics, at the time, but it later became clear that it was a calculated move by the Gilead revolutionaries to stir up racist feeling and lay the...

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