© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Eyes and Seeing

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The Eye in the Sky

Eyes are beautiful. They're the dang windows to the dang soul, right? Sure—unless you're in Gilead, in which case "eyes" are the terrifying presence of the State and not something you stare into longingly.

Thanks for ruining everything, Gilead.

"Eyes" are the spies who work for the government and are situated throughout Gilead. Anyone could be an Eye, and the assumption is that characters are always being watched. It's really interesting that the visual aspects of spying are emphasized when you consider that the Handmaids, in particular, are supposed to be kept from both seeing and being seen.

As reproductive objects, Handmaids must not be sexualized, and one of the freedoms Gilead is supposed to provide them is freedom from the lascivious male gaze. But the watching that the government does through the Eyes is even more invasive.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...