Marxist Theory- Sara Medhin

Higher class society. The Marxist theory focuses on economics, political, philosophical issues. Economic and political conditions determine social condition. In the world having more money equals having more power. Handsmaid tale Offred begins to notice the censorship taking place in the society. She notes, “Newspapers were censored and some were closed down, for security reasons they said.” The people in the government are exercising their power over the lower classes by censoring the information passed on to the citizens. The lower class citizen, and those who lack power, cannot fight the government because they do not have the power to do so. It may also be that they do not notice the censorship as they are not part of “the inner circle.” “The thing to do, they said, was to continue on as usual.” A Marxist would notice that the lower classes are being directed by an omniscient “they” who control their behavior based on the level of power they hold. Ordering them to “continue on as usual” when the power is clearly out of balance yet the citizens seem to be very compliant. Their lack of revolt and protest shows that the government really does hold a significant amount of power over the citizens. • “It’s high time somebody did something” • Those who see what is wrong in the society should try to revolt. If someone did something, as Offred said, the social status and balance of power would shift and the dire changes about to occur would come to a halt. Despite the lack of a much needed revolution, Gilead is spiraling into a whirlwind of change and the society seems to be functioning well. The citizens’ compliance with the government makes the shift a rather quiet and easy one. • “I have to let you go, he said. It’s the law, I have to. I have to let you all go.” The motives behind the firing of women were only known to the government at the time. As far as the reader knows they were let go because they were women. Although women’s rights have progressed it seems that in desperate times, women are still seen to be inferior, lower class, and worth the sacrifice. They couldn’t help themselves because they know they had no power to prevent this from happening. They were being controlled by people who had the money therefore had the power. • “But I could see out into the corridor, and there were two men standing there, in uniforms, with machine guns.” From this we clearly see where the power lies. The juxtaposition between “the government and the people,” “the men and the women,” and “the weapons and the books” shows where the power truly lies. The power lies where the wealth lies and those with the wealth control those “lesser” than them. The armed men are employed by the government and those same men, and their daunting weapons, control the women. Social status In this passage there was different social status presented. At the beginning it shows that Offred was in a higher class then what is now because she had a job at the library which means she can read which classifies her as being in a higher class. As well as she had money to buy what she wanted too like her cigarettes. She was in control of her life. Later on the passage she got fired from her job and was unable to buy herself her cigarettes because her card was invalid. The shift of her social status changed from being in a high class to a lower class where she was controlled by people(Commanders) who had a higher status. Women were known as to be in the lower class and because of that Offred lost her job. Economics At the beginning Offred had control over her money and was allowed to buy what she wanted to buy. Then went to being controlled over her life, what to buy(when she could), where to work(if she could) she was controlled in every aspect of her life, because people with more money were allowed to they had the power to control what they do. When Offred and others were fired from their jobs, there wasn’t anyone to replace them, to take over their jobs. This shows that they don’t care about the economy they just want to take out the people who are in the lower class and be in control of them.

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