‘old’ shows the boredom of the words, it shows they were used so much in the centre that they no longer have any meaning, they are old, withered words which no longer have any meaning or life in them. ‘drummed’ intensifies the obsession Gilead has to programme its modifications in society onto the handmaids. Although religion plays an important role in Gilead we see that not all aspects of religion are welcomed with open arms. Religious figureheads are executed and hung at the wall. ‘There are three new bodies on the wall.
One is a priest, still wearing the black cassock… ‘ This creates some enigma as Gilead is so intense on religion however they would murder the head of the church, it is here where we begin to realise that religion in a conventional sense does not exist. Priests were likely to be against the bible being used to justify such a cynical society. Gilead therefore removed all those who resisted the system. We also see that ‘the church as a small one, it isn’t used anymore, except as a museum’.
This shows the lack of importance the church plays in Gilead, as people no longer go to church. There is no room for other religions within Gilead. Gilead is very hypocritical in terms of religion as it uses religion to defend its reforms however does not let people have their own religion. This is likely to be fear of people finding their own interpretation of the bible and leading to rebellion against Gilead. We see a number of different aspects of faith within Gilead. Gilead is determined to make everyone have faith within its reforms, in its beliefs.
Atwood presents Handmaids who appear to souly believe in Gilead as on meeting with each other they say ‘blessed be the fruit’ which represents fertility. Although this shows faith within Gilead we also see that Offred and Of glen both use this phrase when meeting each other however neither believe or have faith in Gilead. This shows that religion is used to show faith within the handmaids even if it does not truly exist; this would create order and control, as no body would know which handmaid truly believes and which doesn’t.
This becomes ambiguous as we wonder whether everyone in Gilead pretends to have faith in the system like Ofglen and Offred but is controlled and enslaved by their own fear. The fear of being spied upon creates control. However we see that this fear is beaten by the code word ‘Mayday’. Offred has her own faith. We see how extremely strong Offred is when she does her own version of the Lords Prayer. ‘I have enough daily bread so I wont waste time on that’ We see aspects of humour here as it becomes so extremely trivial that people thank god for bread when much worst things are going on in the world to be concerned with.
Offred can see that bread is something trivial and the fact that she expresses this is comical; but in a very dry sense, as she is not being intentionally humorous simply stating the ironically ridiculous truth of her situation. Not only do we see humour but extreme strength and forgiveness ‘I suppose I should say I forgive whoever did this, and what their doing now. I’ll try but it isn’t easy’ this creates an ample amount of strength, Offred is not only forgiving them for their past mistakes, but for the ones they are doing at the present.
She is attempting to forgive those for her pain, and the breaking of her family and life. Forgiving them for the enslavement of her own beliefs. This shows Offred as our heroin. We see that Offred is an extremely strong Christian trying to forgive those who have demoralized her whole being. It is there fore religion, which gives Offred her strengths. Religion is interpretated in Gilead in their own way; the parts they can use to benefit them are taught those, which defy the reforms of Gilead, are left out. Such as the priests being taken out, as they were a form of religion, which did not agree with Gileadian society.
Religion is a very strong standing point for Gilead as they interpretate the bible to show gods approval. Which is how they gain their power. Religions also used against Gilead, as it is what gives Offred hope and faith in escaping to the underground movement. Religion battles against itself to create the conflict in beliefs in ‘The handmaids tale’.