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The Handmaid's Tale Essay | Critical Essay #1

This Study Guide consists of approximately 54 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Handmaid's Tale.
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Critical Essay #1

Perkins is an Assistant Professor of English at Prince George's Community College in Maryland and has written numerous critical articles for essay collections, journals, and educational publishers. In the following essay, she explores the complex interplay of dominance, submission, and rebellion in The Handmaid's Tale through a focus on the main character's struggle for survival.

Critics read Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale as a cautionary story of oppression against women as well as a critique of radical feminism. Some who focus on Offred, the narrator and main character, criticize her passivity in the face of rigid limitations on her individual freedom: Gayle Green in her article, "Choice of Evils," published in The Women's Review of Books insists, "Offred is no hero." Barbara Ehrenreich in her New Republic article, "Feminism's Phantoms," finds her to be "a sappy stand-in for [1984's] Winston Smith.

Even her friend Moira characterizes her as...

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This section contains 1,609 words
(approx. 6 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Handmaid's Tale Study Guide
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The Handmaid's Tale from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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