By looking at this passage through a deconstructionist lens, there are few things that can be extracted to better understand what exactly is happening in this scene. Studying the passage with Deconstructionism means questioning the binary opposites established with Structuralism, and determining what isn't being explicitly stated in the passage.
To break it down, I'll give two examples of opposites found by applying a structuralist lens to the passage. Then, I will use a deconstructionist lens to question these opposites.
The first opposite we will be covering is the concept of Truth vs. Lies. A structuralist would point out that the government is telling the handmaids that the man being particicuted is a rapist, and has killed a baby while committing the act. They want these people to believe that these accusations are true. However later in the passage it is revealed that this man most likely did not rape anyone, and is in fact an enemy of the government. This is revealed as the truth, by Ofglen.
Now although this is a distinct binary opposite, we must question further and see what else may be revealed in this passage by applying a deconstructionist lens.
Why are the government lying to the people? Naturally, by warping what actually happened to their liking, they are able to turn the handmaidens to their side. They can say "Hey, this person did a very bad thing, and now we are giving you a chance to take Justice into your hands. You're welcome!". The Government ends up looking like the good guy. That being said, the government must know that there is a significant rebellion movement. They must also realize that not everyone will be convinced that this man committed these crimes, and is in fact an enemy of the government. So perhaps particicution is also a message for the rebellion movement. They use these men as examples, as a way of saying "This is what happens to those who rebel". It is interesting to think about the government's motivations, and to think
about how they operate.
The second binary opposite we will be talking about is Violence Vs. Mercy. A structuralist would say that the government tends to resort to violence whenever they can. The Particicution is a prime example of
these attitudes. This man is pitted against all these women who have been angered by his supposed actions. On the contrary, Ofglen believes that this man deserves mercy, and decides to knock him out in the most quick and painless way possible. This is a clear opposite, One that paints a fairly clear picture on who the good and bad people are in this passage.
But let's see if we can delve further into this concept.. Even before the particicution begins, the man is already weak. Beat up and seemingly drugged, he doesn't stand a chance against these women. So not only do they practically give this man a death sentence, they give him any and every disadvantage possible to ensure the process is as painful as possible. He is treated like he is less than human. This shows us what the government thinks of other people, and how they really believe they should be treated.
By looking at these binary opposites, we were able to find out that the government puts no value on a person's well being. They also seem to use scare tactics and violence to warp peoples minds, so that they can stay in control. One can only wonder how long a group of people can stay in power when employing such harsh tactics.