Conflict In The Handmaids Tale

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Conflict can be described as the struggle between two opposing forces, whether the forces being person vs person, person vs self or person vs society. Good examples of conflict can be found in almost any book. Margaret Atwood’s novel, the Handmaid’s Tale is a source of all three types of conflicts. The Handmaid’s Tale is about a society where females are given specific duties and are restricted from reading, writing, talking to others and looking at themselves in mirrors. The protagonist, Offred whom is also the narrator in the novel faces conflicts with herself, with other people, and the society that she lives in. Offred’s conflict with the commander’s wife Serena Joy only escalates throughout the book, as the two did not like each other…show more content…
Offred struggles between her attraction to Nick and remaining faithful to Luke. In the end of the novel, Offred ends up giving in to her attraction to Nick, however she does not feel that she has betrayed Luke in any way. Both gentlemen fulfill needs of Offed at different times of her life. Luke only exists in her past life, and most of Offred’s memories with him are fading away as she struggles to remember certain details of her past. Offred thinks, “The fact is that I no longer want to leave, escape, cross the border to freedom. I want to be here, with Nick, where I can get at him” (Atwood 338). This demonstrates how tangled her feelings are and the true internal conflict she faces. Deciding between Nick and Luke deeply conflicts Offred, however it allows her to move on from her past with Luke and move forward potentially with Nick. Throughout the novel, Offred’s inner thoughts about Gilead go back and forth from rebelling against society and giving in to the society. At a low point for Offred, she thinks, “I used to think of my body as an instrument, of pleasure, or a means of transportation, or an implement for the accomplishment of my will…..There were limits but my body was nevertheless lithe, single, solid, one with me. Now the flesh arranges itself differently. I’m a cloud, congealed around a central object, the shape of a pear, which is hard and more real than I am and glows red within its translucent wrapping.” (Atwood 91). This makes the reader believe that Offred has given into the social injustice at Gilead being the oppression of women. At this point she is giving into the idea of women being taken from their families and given specific roles in a controlled environment; the idea of women being classified by the fertility of their womb or the status of their husband. Controversially, Offred also
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