Homework Help - Question & Answer

By Student

Can you assist me with a thesis and analysis on The Handmaids Tale thought the lens of Marxism-Feminism Theories?


By PD Tutor
Best Answer

Before you can tackle any type of analysis through a specific lens, it is important to make sure that you thoroughly understand that lens.  Marxism-Feminism attempts to tackle some of the underlying weaknesses in both Marxist theory and feminist theory, because Marxism fails to address some of the gender issues that impact class and feminist theory fails to address some of the class issues that impact gender.  Because of how class and gender intersect in The Handmaid’s Tale, it is a perfect piece for analysis through this particular lens,

The sexism in The Handmaid’s Tale is clear, because women, particularly fertile women, become basically property for others.  They are stripped of their rights and this behavior not only impacts them, but also has a detrimental impact on the women who serves as wives and are, theoretically at least, of higher social status than the handmaids.  As with real-life patriarchies, women definitely play a role in helping perpetuate systems of gendered oppression and some women do get real benefits from the oppression, even while simultaneously being victims of the same oppression.  These gendered themes are well-explored and overt in the work.

What is less overt is how the structure of the society in the novel mirrors the structure of almost any class-based society.  The handmaids are the working class or proletariat, who are forced into slave-like conditions by the ruling middle class, which symbolizes the bourgeoisie.  They are stripped of individual identity, as symbolized by the names they must use after being given to a Commander.  This, of course, calls back feminist criticisms of patriarchal ideals, where women who marry have long been stripped of at least part of their individual identities because of expectations that they take their husband’s names.  In addition, the relationship between class and gender becomes interesting because, while they may have more power than the handmaids, even the privileged women in the novel are unable to exert their preferences and power over men.

Related Documents

View all Students Questions & Answers and unlimited Study Documents