Government in Gilead:The passage begins with Offred describing the governmental changes happening in Pre-Gilead society. She recalls, “Newspapers were censored…closed down, for security reasons.” She describes roadblocks and Identipasses being issued along with a slow decline in words on the radio. Offred recalls “The roadblocks began to appear, and Identipasses.” She also notes that “There was a lot more music on the radio than usual, and fewer words.” These changes are the beginning of the isolation that the country of Gilead faces which poses the question, what is the government hiding? Her description of the conditions paints an image of a country at war or during the beginning stages of wartime. From this, the majority assumes that the government is indeed hiding something but the question can also be, "what are they protecting the nation from?” Roadblocks are placed to serve two purposes; for temporary road closure during construction or special events, or, to suppress some form of revolt or protest. The majority would think that the government is the one to fear or to mistrust however something must have happened to set off such dire changes in the government. Perhaps there is an external threat to the nation or an internal epidemic that requires immediate attention. Offred never addresses the reason that the government is changing so much and what events occurred to cause a complete change therefore the assumption of a corrupt government cannot be based on fact. It is also true that reader has no insight into why these changes are happening as we only know as much as the narrator knows. Just because the government is on a different page than “the people” does not mean that it is on the wrong side. The lack of information calls into question how reliable Offred is as a narrator.
When Offred’s card was denied she called the bank only to find that her account was frozen. Money and the lack of money seem to be apparent in this passage and can be paralleled with power and the lack of power. The majority associates power with money and so the confiscation of Offred’s, and the women’s, accounts make them more vulnerable. The freezing of their accounts striped them of their power and made the women more susceptible to governmental control. The reader never sees thestoryfrom a mansperspectiveseeing as our narrator is a woman. The way the story is written implies that it is only the women who have losttheirjobs and only women who cannot access their accounts. Is the American government restricting both genders access to money save those who work within the government? Are these restrictions gender neutral? Do these restrictions surpass class and power systems?
When Offred arrives at work she finds out that her and the other librarians are being “let go” from their job. Offred describes a tense atmosphere as well as an agitated director who emphasizes the fact that they are being “let go” and not “fired” as the women see it. Even prior to arriving at work, Offred notices that the woman who usually works at the corner store is replaced with a young man. Why are the women being forced out of work? Frantically, the director announces the presence of armed gunmen in his office and the importance of the situation, claiming that it is “the law.” Outside the library there are men in uniform carrying machine guns intending to destroy the library if the women do not leave. Offred also notes the theatricality of the men, like Martians, in complete juxtaposition with their surroundings. Why is it that the government want to destroy the library? The burning of books indicates a massive shift in power and the loss of knowledge. With the burning of books, censorship of newspapers, and fewer words on the radio, the reader assumes that the government is attempting to erase something. Perhaps the government wants to erase the past and have a clean slate for the major modifications about to occur.
This text fails to inform the reader of the motives behind the changes in Gilead, subjecting the majority to believe that the changes are occurring for no particular reason. From this assumption it is widely believed that the government is oppressive and is firmly against the people of the nation.