Freedom and control

In Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the Gilead regime places heavy restrictions on everyone, from the Handmaids to the Commanders. Citizens are made to feel that they are being constantly watched and that there are possible spies everywhere. Their fear tactics result in a culture of silence, terror, and oppression. 

Within their restricted lives, many of the characters try to find small ways to rebel against the system or feel that they are doing something unobserved. For example, the Commander visits the brothel club Jezebel’s, because he thinks that it is human nature for a man to need multiple sexual partners and that the Gilead system stifles that need. 

Offred is much more restricted than the Commander and her ambitions are smaller. She thinks, for example, that she would like to steal something small from the Commander’s house: “Every...

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