Structuralism - Alex Fong

The following is what a Structuralist would seek within the passage ‘Losing her Job’. They intend to seek the truth between two binary opposites.

Authority vs. No control
In the middle of the passage, Offred loses her job at the library because her boss (who is a man) ‘lets her go’ instead of firing her and her co-workers (who are all women). Two men dressed in suits are also waiting outside the door with machine guns in hand. “I have to let you go, he said. It’s the law, I have to. I have to let you all go.”(221) The truth that is revealed here shows that women’s freedom of knowledge is being removed from them as they are just simply not allowed to work at the library no more and it indicates to a Structuralist’s point of view that this country is being ruled under a Totalitarian government.

Kindness vs. Rudeness and Men vs. Women
Even before Gilead was officially created we can already see that men obtain power over women. When Offred enters the corner store, she finds a young man working there instead of the usual woman. As Offred asked where the usual store clerk was, the young man replied very aggressively. “She sick? I said as I handed him my card. Who? He said, aggressively I thought. The woman who’s usually here, I said. How would I know, he said.”(220) A structuralist would also see that as Offred asked politely, the young man replied rudely, indicating that men are treating women as a lesser being then them.

Reproduction vs. Pleasure (in terms of sex)
As this society slowly becomes Gilead, it is seen that the porn industry is being shut down. “The Pornomarts were shut, though, and there were no longer any Feels on Wheels vans and Bun-dle Buggies circling the Square.”(218) What a structuralist sees from this is that sex is no longer something for pleasure since porn is made for the purpose of pleasure, and now sex is solely used for reproduction of human life.
Security vs. Insecurity
Things within their society have changed so much that, walking to school alone is no longer safe. “There was a school Pool that was supposed to pick them up, but for some reason I’d wanted Luke to do it, I was getting worried even about the School Pool. No children walked to school anymore, there had been too many disappearances.”(219) A Structuralist would see that safety within this society is no longer intact as children are kidnapped if they walk to school alone. It is clear to them that there is an issue happening if kids are being kidnapped by other people, possibly due to the problem of reproduction that is beginning to happen at that time.

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