The Destruction of Gilead’s Binary Thought In Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale


This paper focuses on interpreting Margret Atwood’s outlook towards the affiliation of power between man and woman, and, likewise, the hidden meaning of her message(s) to women in general. These issues will be explained by interpreting or considering her novel, The Handmaid’s Tale as a pattern of oppositions. The conceptual tool that is used to uncover the keys for the questions of whether Atwood is with or against women and how she visualizes women’s experience and distress under the patriarchal rules are; binary oppositions and Derrida’s concept of différance. Using the binary oppositions Gilead’s central and restricted ideologies and the handmaids’ silent response become comprehensible. Then by reversing these binary conceptions, depending on Derrida’s concept, the incompatibles will be proved. Atwood’s depiction of woman is not always positive and not negative as well. Therefore, this paper assumes that women are being used and dehumanized in Gilead which gives hints for the author’s view of men’s inclination to imprison women and deprive them from their right to live a normal life. Furthermore, the binary thought depicts women as inert and powerless. The second part and after reversing the binary opposition we conclude that the handmaids and women in general are able to convert the hierarchical belief by taking on the same tool that has been used to oppress them