The town of Gilead in The Handmaids Tale is shown by Margaret Atwood to be in a state of dystopia. She portrays this image both in a moral way and religious. The first chapter of the book sets the scene for the whole story and gives you, an excellent description of the place her and her friends stay in. “How did we learn it, that talent for insatiability? It was in the air; and it was still in the air, an afterthought, as we tried to sleep, in the army cots that had been set up in rows, with space between so we could not talk.
” From this paragraph we understand that these girls who have all been sent to this camp or hostel long for friendship of some sort and are not allowed to talk to their friends even when in bed. Hardship is one of the main themes in this story and is portrayed sometimes in a subtle way, but sometimes in a very deep way. All these girls have had all the liberties taken away from them they have no freedom. When they go on walks they go on walks being monitored.
It is impossible for them to escape because the minute they step out of bounds, without permission from one of their superiors they will be shot, without question. They are kept in this institution for a reason; this reason is for them to learn how to become good handmaids. After they have attained these skills they are sent to a house hold where they will stay for the rest of their lives or be married off. This is when Offreds journey starts. Offred is sent to a household, where the wife of the house is in charge of her.
Here she goes out to do the shopping for the Martha and this is where we see the real extent of this dysfunctional society. In chapter five Offred describes the town as she remembers it and what it has become now. Even the shop signs have bees changed and have no pictures on them as they have decided that even the lettering is too much of a temptation for the people. However, within this there is a deeper meaning as what the real idea of removing the lettering was so that the next generation of handmaids and children will not be able to read.
This shows how ignorant and serious the people in the higher part of society were. “We were a society dying, said Aunt Lydia, of too much choice. ” This shows the ignorance and how much the aunts manage to teach them to live without the freedom and putting ideas in their heads. Also the main Point that the aunt is trying to make in this sentence is that there is too much choice implying that choice is wrong and that there should only be one way of going about doing things.
The main place we really see how dysfunctional this society is, is when Offred and Ofglen are walking through the town and decide to walk past the church. Here Margaret Atwood shows that these people now have not even any respect for religion as the only church that is a historic site for the town has been deserted and used only as a museum now. This seems very disturbing as a church is a place of worship and is now being treated as a normal museum just for people to come and pass time.
The other thing that is very disturbing id the bodies that they walk past which are hanging on the wall as if they are a barbaric society. “We stop, as if on signal, and stand and look at the bodies. It doesn’t matter if we look. We’re supposed to look: this is what they are there for, hanging on the wall. Sometimes they’ll be there for the days, until there is a new batch, so as many people as possible will have a chance to see I find this paragraph sick in a way. What sort of society would murder other men and just hang them up for show in the middle of the street.
Here Margaret Atwood shows the extensiveness of this society’s moral behaviour. Also Gilead in a way is a communist society. I say this because every one has to wear the same outfits depending on their status in society. This makes the people lose their sense of identity, because everyone wants and needs to dress in their own way. From all this we conclude that Atwood creates this sense of dystopia in Gilead by showing that everything is the opposite of the world that we live in today. For the petty everyday things in our life’s make a big difference even if we do not notice it.