Biblical Appropriation in The Handmaids Tale

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Mark W


Date added:

June 25, 2012








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6 / 1623


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The selected passage that is read is Genesis 30:1-3: "Give me children, or else I die. Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb? Behold my maid Bilah. She shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her?(88). In the complete passage, Jacob is upset because his wife Rachel has not conceived a baby, which is much like the Commander...
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He does not blame it on himself, but instead accuses his wife of not being able to conceive. In the Gilead society it is forbidden for men to be called sterile; which forces women to be accused with the fault of withholding pregnancy. Rachel literally represents the Commander's wife because she wants children so badly that she is willing to let the Commander conceive with her handmaid Offred...
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