Freedom from is under control

“Freedom from” in “A Handmaid’s Tale” is just a nice way of saying “under control.”  Aunt Lydia was just trying to get the girls complacent by saying that instead of “freedom to,” they had “freedom from”:  freedom from all the things that before they actually had freedom to do.  As Offred remembers in her past life; “I think about laundromats.  What I wore to them . . . what I put into them:  my own clothes, my own soap, my own money, money I had earned myself.  I think about having such control.”  (Atwood 24)  Now she has no control.  In the past, these women had the freedom to do certain things, and these things granted came with such danger as there is danger for everyone—such as going certain places at night alone, motorists who are really criminals pretending to be stranded, etc.—but at least the women had a choice in the matter as far as what they could do, where they could go.  Now they are being controlled and liberated (according to Aunt Lydia) from those things they did before.  This new government of the Republic of Gilead obviously decided that they knew what was best for people and assigned living “slots” that people could fit into (men and women).  The Aunts were really trying to brainwash the girls into thinking that this new way of life was actually better than the life they had before.  In some ways the life women had before could be debated as to whether or not it was really good in some aspects, but so could the life of all men, women, and children be considered not good in some aspects.  Unfortunately in the Republic of Gilead, the new option for women wasn’t really an option at all, and it wasn’t better but worse. 


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