Gilead is shown in the novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” as a dictatorial state. The Republic of Gilead is also known as the “Divine Republic”. According to the Handmaid’s tale Gilead is located in the present-day United States of America.
2 Introduction To The Handmaid’s Tales
In the novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” there is a story of the republic of Gilead, which is a dictatorial state. The novel The Handmaid’s Tale” was written by a Canadian author, Margaret Atwood. The story revolves around the life of the women living in Gilead. It was written back in 1985.
2.1 Summary Of The Handmaid’s Tale
The story takes place in a theocratic military dictatorship, known as the Republic of Gilead. The story starts with the assassination of the president including others from congress. A revolution began by an extreme Christian movement known as the “sons of Jacob” who suspends the constitution of the United States. They harshly eliminate the women laws as well. Now it was a new government in the state of Gilead. The new government consolidated rapidly, in order to implement its power and new laws along with a new militarized and forceful old testament inspired social and religious laws on the public of Gilead. According to the new laws, women are not allowed to read. There were no women’s rights in the new legislation, besides the other human rights were also extremely limited.
The New Social And Religious Laws Of The Gilead
In this epoch, there is much environmental pollution along with the use of harmful radiations everywhere. In all such circumstances, Offred was among the few women who still are fertile. In the new legislation, the women were also not allowed to take the authority of their own reproduction system. So the same happened to her. She was forced to produce children, of the commanders, who are running the government. This was known as “Handmaid”, as it is of the kind of the story that is present in the bible, the story of Rachel and her handmaid Bilhah. The handmaids and lower class of the society were not the only women who were facing all this, in fact, the other women of the society including the wives of the Commanders, aunts, cooks, ecowives , married, unmarried and even the widows all had to face these new strict laws. Like for example, there was a strict dress code for the women of the society, the wives of the commanders had to wear a blue dress, handmaid red dress with a veil on their face, the aunts in brown, the maids and cooks in green, the housewives in blue, red and green stripes, the younger girls who are unmarried in white, and the widows in black.
Offred A Handmaid
The novel begins with the self-narration of a story by Offred, who was now doing her third assignment of carrying a baby for a commander. She describes how she tried to escape to Canada along with her family, but fails to do so. She was not treated well at all, in the house where she was living along with the wife of the commander. The wife of the commander Serena was already a Christian worker, who had been supporting the role of the women in the society as a subordinate. When the ceremony took place what has held as a reproduction ritual, the commander sent a message to Offred. In short, the commander and Offred get into an illegal relation. The commander gives her favours in both the material items as well as in the information. After that, he takes her to the government-run brothel that was a private hidden place.
In the brothel, Offred meets Moira; she tells Offred some of the other laws of this extremist government that were not in her information. Moira tells that breaking the laws could lead to strict punishments, and those who break the law, are sent to the colonies. The colonies with the toxins material are the place where such lawbreakers are forced to clean the highly toxic waste.
Offred And Nick’s Relation
It was the time when Offred was visiting the commander; she comes to know about an underground campaign that was working on the agenda to overthrow the Republic of Gilead. Meanwhile, Serena suspects that the commander is infertile, so she plans for arranging Offred for a sexual relationship with Nick, who is the personal servant of the commander. When she comes in personal contact with Nick, she finds the moments they spent together with the most pleasing ones. Then those, she had spent with her husband. Offred had done criminal acts with her husband. She became so closer to Nick that she easily tells all that had happened in her past life.
Later Serena came to know about the illegal relationship of the Offred with the commander. The 'eyes of God,’ secret police arrives at the house to take Offred away. Offred tells Nick that she is pregnant. She had no idea who they are? Is it police known as the eye of God, or they are members of Manday. As they taking her to the van, Nick soothes her and tells her to have faith in him. She also was not sure whether Nick is a member of the Mayday or he just made an excuse. With all this uncertainty she sits in the van.
2.2 The Characters In The Handmaid’s Tale
The story narration in the novel is by Offred. Who describes all the eye-witnessed events of the republic of Gilead. She is the main leading character who is portraying women who are living in the Republic of Gilead. She was selected as a Commander’s Handmaid.
He is a person from the working body of the government. In the novel, the commander mentions that he was actually a scientist. Offered remains in an intimate relationship with the Commander.
Serena is the wife of the Commander. She was a televangelist in the past. With the implementation of new laws, forcefully her powers were taken away from her, and they also tried to hide her previous reputation. Later Offred recognized her as a TV personality when she comes in contact with Serena’s husband.
Ofglen was a shopping partner of Offred. She was her neighbour and a fellow handmaid. She was a member of Mayday resistance. Finally, she committed suicide; as she had a fear of her imprisonment by the government.
Nick serves as a chauffeur of the commander. It was Nick who became a sexual partner Offred. The wife of the commander allows them both to have a relationship with each other. Offered falls in love with Nick, but she was doubted about his character. This was not known to Offred that who nick is in actual? Either he is a party loyalist or is he a part of the resistance. He has claimed that he is a part of the Resistance. Though it was concluded later that he was, in reality, a part of the resistance, as he had helped in escaping Offred out of the commander’s house.
Moira is the character of a close friend of Offred. As they both were in an illegal relationship that was strictly prohibited in Christianity, and so was in the law of the Republic of Gilead. She was appointed as a handmaid as well after the appointment of Offred. But she escapes soon. Later Offred saw Moira who was working in the brothel.
Luke was the husband of Offred in The Handmaid’s tale. When the republic of Gilead was formed after the fall of the old government, she was forcefully taken as a handmaid, while her daughter was taken by a loyalist family. Eventually, she did not hear anything about Luke till the end.
3 Republic of Gilead
The Republic of Gilead in the Handmaid’s tale is located in the present-day united states of America.
3.1 Characteristics of the Republic of Gilead
The capital of the Republic of Gilead is Washington DC, with its boundary attached to Canada from the north and with Texas from the south. There was a system of inner-party men, who were actually the ruling party or the in charge of the country known as the “committee’. The Republic of Gilead was not a democratic form of government, but that was shown as a dictatorial form of the government that is run by ‘Committee’.
In the social and class system, the laws of Gilead were not according to general equality. The legal position of any individual from one social class was kept uniform.
There was great discrimination of rights in concern with gender. The female children were not allowed to receive education after reaching the age of menarche, after which they had to leave the school for marrying. While the boys were allowed to study further.
3.2 Female Classes in the Republic of Gilead
In Gilead, where the women were the lesser of all the humans, the highest rank was available to the wives. Their authority to using power was limited to their husband and upon the household staff. They had little power to implement on the Aunts and Guardians. The wives were ordered to wear a teal, blue or green dress.
The widows everywhere in the republic of Gilead were wearing a black dress.
The duty of aunts was to supervise the handmaids and other women of the society. In accordance with the nature of their duty, they were allowed to issue orders to Guardians. They use to wear brown garment.
As mentioned earlier that those women who are living in the Republic of Gilead, who are fertile and who are also especially divorced, were forced to work for bearing kids for the reputed workers of the government of Gilead.
This is a working/ servant class of the women in the republic of Gilead who wear a grey dress.
These are the women of the low ranked class who are married. If they do not give birth to their own child, they were taken as handmaid or Martha.
The women who were working as a prostitute in the brothel house were known as Jezebel.
The most unlucky class of the women is the un-women in Gilead. As these are those women who are infertile. They were sent to the polluted lands for cleaning the land in the high radiation area.
3.3 The Awards and Achievements by The Handmaid’s Tale
The Handmaid’s Tale got much popularity among the book readers.
• In 1985 The Handmaid’s Tale won the Governor General’s Award.
• In 1987 The Handmaid’s Tale was awarded the Arthur C. Clarke Award.
• In 1986 The Handmaid’s Tale was nominated for Nebula Award.
• It was 1986 The Handmaid’s Tale was nominated for the Booker Prize.
• In 1987 it got selected for the Prometheus award.
• The Handmaid’s Tale has the honour that it kept printing since its first publication in 1985.
Frequently Asked Questions FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions regarding the Gilead and the Handmaid’s Tale.
1. Where is Gilead in Handmaid’s tale?
According to the novel ‘The handmaid’s Tale’, the Republic of Gilead is located in the former United States of America. After the arrival of an extreme force, military dictatorship started in the republic.
2. How would you describe Gilead?
The former state of the United States of America came under the control of an extremist branch of the Christians. Who took control of the entire nation in their hands? That resulted in the development of a new state known as ‘Gilead’. The state of Gilead is run by these extreme Christians on the forced harsh violence.
3. What part of the US is Gilead?
The republic of Gilead as narrated in the Handmaid’s tale is positioned in present-day America and is comprised of the states like Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Hampshire, Massachusetts New Jersy.
The novel ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is written by Margaret Atwood. The story of the novel is about the republic of Gilead, about the social injustice of the extremist’s government and also about the story of the transgender and gays of Gilead. The novel has also remained under criticism due to its nature. If we see the other side of the image than the author has tried to focus on the inequality among the genders that are prevailing in the society