In Roxane Gay's third person short story “Graceful Burdens,” women in the Federated States are consigned to one of two fates: either they are allowed to have children, or they are not. Women who do not pass the genetic screening are dismissed as valueless. Those who do pass are forced into arranged marriages. No matter their fates, the narrative's primary characters, Hadley, Gabriella, Chloe, Sidra, and Seraphina, all struggle to find meaning and purpose within a repressive system. The story explores themes of control, gender, and freedom.