Outward conformity along with inward questioning, that is what the main character, presented in Margaret Artwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, has to undertake in order to survive in a theocratic society. Stepping out of line in any way risks your life, so in a place where freedom of speech and basic human right’s no longer apply, Offered must comply with whatever rules they have in place and pretend to agree with the system, but in the inside, she cannot help but think about her past life, her husband, her daughter, before everything began. Flashbacks are integrated in the novel to not only compare the old society with the new one, but to also demonstrate this fake conformity Offred has to display to others and her internal struggle with giving up on escaping the Republic or just accepting her fate and playing by
What would become of the world, if our current societal flaws, such as sexism, racism, and classism were ingrained and executed at a systematic level? This is exactly what The Handmaid’s Tale set out to explore. The novel, which claims to be speculative fiction, is set in the theocratic Republic of Gilead (formerly the USA), where birth rates are rapidly declining and women have been marginalized by the patriarchal regime, forbidden to read, write or love and valued only if they are able to procreate. They are separated into classes, including Wives, Marthas, Aunts, Unwomen, and Handmaids, distinguishable only by the color of their clothing. The Handmaids are renamed by combining ‘of’ and the name of the Commander that they have been assigned to, stripping them of any individuality. The protagonist of The Handmaid’s Tale is referred to as Offred (of Fred). Through the manipulation of literary devices such as juxtaposition, allusion, and descriptive diction, Margaret Atwood voices her concerns about our future, and reveals just how quickly and completely our present could transform.
In Margaret Atwood’s novel, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, Moira is depicted as the symbol for resistance to authority and represents hope to the Handmaids. Atwood presents her as a polar opposite to Offred. She is independent, strong-willed, and outspoken. Conversely, the pair can be argued to be doubles in the fact that they both ‘resist’ to the oppressive Republic in Gilead.
In the novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, the protagonist, Offred, expresses her wish that her “story [is] different,” that it is “happier,” or at least “more active, less hesitant, less distracted” than it is ultimately portrayed (267). However, as her story is told, these characteristics are evident in the way she talks and acts, especially around those with authority. Hesitant to express her true thoughts and feelings, and distracted by memories from her previous life, Offred attempts to piece together her role in the society that has taken her freedom. The result is a compilation of moments, of memories, both from her present, her past, and even speculation about her future.
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
Atwood clearly emphasizes this point through the inclusion of Offred 's inner thoughts; which in turn, help to illuminate to the reader the process of this deterioration. Atwood also shows how the Republic of Gilead uses totalitarianism tactics, which parallel those used in North Korea, in order to remain in control. In The Handmaid’s tale, a dystopian novel, Margaret Atwood uses imagery and allusion throughout the novel to illustrate how the republic of Gilead uses techniques to deteriorate one 's mind in order to maintain their power. Throughout the dystopian country
Offred initially feels a sense of loss due to her position as a fertile woman since the independence and individuality she once enjoyed has since been stripped from her by the Republic of Gilead. It is only through rebellion that Offred is able to slowly regain her sense of self and reject the role that Gilead forces her into. By rebellion, however, it is often more dangerous for the perpetrators than to the government’s grip on the people. Offred’s societal role as a handmaid in Gilead forces her to first obey, then causes her to question, which finally allows her to realize her
Through breaking small rules, Offred is connecting to her past identity. At dinner, Offred steals butter, “As long as we do this, butter our skin to keep it soft, we can believe that we will someday get out, that we will be touched again, in love or desire. We have ceremonies of our own, private ones,” (Atwood 96). This simple action represents the hope of a future that is like their past. Rebelling by stealing butter, playing Scrabble, reading magazines, and having love interests allows her to come back to part of her identity.
Rebellion in The Handmaid’s Tale Imagine not being able to do what you used to do because some actions are forbidden in this new society. In the Handmaid's Tale, Gilead is a dystopian society where people are limited to certain actions. Throughout the story, Offred’s actions are rebellious because she has broken so many rules. Atwood demonstrates that restricted expression leads to rebellion by showing the Commanders and Offred’s affair developing throughout time and the actions of both characters.
So, generally speaking, the people of Gilead are so passive about the way that they are treated because this is the only way for them to continue to survive. Offreds passivity is something that is touched on several times throughout the novel, but she does not just learn this skill on her own, but is taught by a woman named Aunt Lydia. “Aunt Lydia said it was best not to speak unless they asked you a direct question. Try to think of it from their point of view she said, her hands clasped and wrung together, her nervous pleading smile.
Offred is suspicious of what the handmaid 's did. She looks at their hands, and a clue is given to her when she sees “black gloves”(Atwood 275). She ponders what they could have possibly done to have warranted such action from the authorities. Her speculation shows how the society of Gilead functions. The government of Gilead wants the handmaids to see that the prisoners are being hanged, as their suspicion is how Gilead gains control of them.
O’Connor successfully conveys humanity through realistic and uncomfortably relatable or recognizable characters. She illustrates the human ability to be redeemable, but amplifies it with characters who require the grace of God to get them there. It is almost a challenge to her readers to be better people. O’Connor grew up in the rural south, seeing discrimination with her own eyes, but was still able to hope that humans could change for good. It’s a good idea to read her works because they include messages like the one in this, and could help people see the world more clearly, in a less selfish way.
One of the factors used by the characters in the two novels for their survival is conformity. An example of conformity that plays an important role in the two novels is clothing. In The Handmaid’s Tale, the classifications of each individual are conformed by different clothing. The Handmaids wear red dresses, Marthas wear green, Wives wear blue, Ecowives wear stripes dresses of the three colours, and Commanders and the Angels wear black clothing. According to Offred from The Handmaid's Tale, “The wings too are prescribed issue; they are to keep us from seeing, but also from being seen” (Atwood 9). If defied, they will most likely be sent to the colonies, where their life span and survival chance is shortened. Similarly, the people in the Parable of the Sower also had their style of clothing to blend themselves in when going outside the walls. In the novel, Parable of the Sower, Lauren says: