The Aunts in The Handmaid’s Tale are a group of older women who serve as instructors and enforcers of the Republic of Gilead’s oppressive regime. They wear distinctive red robes and white bonnets, and are required to live in the Rachel and Leah Center where they train new handmaids. The Aunts are not blood relatives of the handmaid, but they are expected to treat them like daughters.
While the Aunts play a vital role in upholding Gilead’s strict social order, many of them are conflicted about their duties. Some Aunts genuinely believe in the Republic’s mission, while others only follow its rules out of fear of punishment. Still others see the handmaids as victims and want to help them, even though they know it’s against the law.
Aunt Lydia is the most prominent Aunt in The Handmaid’s Tale. She’s the one who oversees the training of new handmaids at the Rachel and Leah Center. Aunt Lydia is a harsh taskmaster, but she also shows moments of compassion and humanity.
Other notable Aunts include Aunt Elizabeth, who is in charge of the food distribution center, and Aunt Helena, who works at the Red Center as a doctor.
The Aunts are an important part of The Handmaid’s Tale because they represent the many different ways that people can respond to an oppressive regime. Some people will go along with it out of fear or because they believe in its ideology. Others will resist in small ways, while a few will risk everything to fight back.
The Aunts’ duty in Gilead is not limited to instructing Handmaids at the Rachel and Leah Re-education Center. The Aunts shatter the spirits of the Handmaids-in-training in order to ensure their compliance. According to Lee Briscoe Thompson in Scarlet Letters: Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Handmaids are taught how to betray one another rather than being physically alienated.
The Aunts pit the women against each other through daily brainwashing until they are no longer individuals, but part of a whole. The Aunts also enforce the strict dress code and social rules that the Handmaids must follow. They serve as both teachers and jailers, and are some of the most reviled people in Gilead.
Even though the Aunts maintain a position of power over the Handmaids, they too are oppressed by the regime. The Aunts are not allowed to have their own children, and can be executed if they break the rules set forth by Gilead. Many of them were once married women with families of their own, but those ties have been severed in order to make them more loyal to the state. The Aunts are a reminder that no one is truly free in Gilead.
The Aunts say that “only informing on others or testifying against oneself is permitted and rewarded” as storytelling. As a result of this encouragement for betrayal, Handmaids live in fear and suspicion, ensuring that they will obey the rules set by the Aunts.
The Aunts also administer brutal punishments, such as beatings and even executions, in order to maintain control. The Aunts are a cruel and heartless force that the Handmaids must contend with on a daily basis.
The Handmaids surround the alleged criminal and are “permitted to do anything,” allowing them to impose punishment for his crimes as a group. This activity offers the Handmaids a sense of freedom, and it is in these brief stints of independence that the Aunts are able to lull them into complacency.
The Aunts, or the Eyes as they are called in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, are a group of women who have been brainwashed into submission and who now enforce the strict laws of Gilead. The Aunts are both revered and feared by the Handmaids, as they are the ones who maintain control over their lives. The Aunts are also responsible for training the Handmaids in their new roles and for keeping them in line. While the Aunts may seem to be nothing more than oppressive figureheads, they actually play a vital role in maintaining the stability of Gilead.
The Aunts are first introduced to the reader when Offred is taken to her new home in the Red Center. The Aunts are a group of older women who have been indoctrinated into the new regime and who now serve as its enforcers. The Aunts are stern and unforgiving, but they are also shown to be capable of compassion. When Offred is first brought to the Red Center, Aunt Lydia comforts her and tells her that she is not alone. This act of kindness stands in stark contrast to the brutality that the Aunts are capable of inflicting.
The Aunts are also shown to be very skilled at manipulation. They use fear and intimidation to keep the Handmaids in line, but they also appeal to their sense of duty and patriotism. The Aunts are able to convince the Handmaids that they are doing important work for the good of society, even though they are essentially nothing more than breeding machines.
While the Aunts may seem to be nothing more than oppressive figureheads, they actually play a vital role in maintaining the stability of Gilead. The Aunts are responsible for keeping the Handmaids in line and for ensuring that they fulfill their duties. Without the Aunts, the Handmaids would likely rebel against the system that has been imposed upon them. The Aunts also serve as a reminder of the consequences of disobedience. The Handmaids know that if they step out of line, they will be brutally punished by the Aunts. This knowledge helps to keep them in check and prevents them from challenging the status quo.
In The Handmaid’s Tale, aunts are portrayed as unsympathetic. The aunts are a group of women who are supposed to force the new beliefs of this society on to the handmaids and persuade them to accept their fates. They rule over these handmaids in the Red Center.
The aunts wear all red clothing, which is the color of purity. The aunts are not blood related to the handmaids, but they are women who have committed crimes against the state in the past. The aunts force the handmaids to forget their past identities and become new people who will accept their new roles in society. The aunts treat the handmaids harshly and do not hesitate to beat them if they disobey.
The aunts also teach the handmaids how to use their bodies for reproductive purposes only. They tell the handmaids that their sole purpose in life is to bear children for the elite men of society. The aunts brainwash the handmaids into thinking that this is all they are good for and that they should be grateful for the opportunity to serve such a important role.
The aunts are not necessarily evil people, but they have been indoctrinated into believing the new society’s beliefs. They truly believe that they are helping the handmaids by teaching them how to live their new lives. The aunts are a symbol of the brainwashing that has occurred in this society. They represent how easily people can be swayed into accepting new beliefs, even if those beliefs go against everything they used to believe in.