The Macksey Journal


Margaret Atwood founded a genre of female dystopia when she published The Handmaid’s Tale in 1985, but female does not always equate to feminist, and it certainly does not in this instance. This paper analyzes the ways in which The Handmaid’s Tale villainizes women through characterization, parallelism, motifs, and other elements, paying particular attention to Offred as well as the ways in which women – particularly Offred’s own activist mother and the violent, sadistic Aunts – are blamed for the Gileadean regime far more than any male character. In short, this paper will examine the ways in which The Handmaid’s Tale mirrors a feminist call to action as a call to inaction and culpability, exploring the novel as a work of pseudo-feminism.