Imagine having no option other than breaking the government laws to survive. In the novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, written by Margaret Atwood in the new society, Republic of Gilead, a strict government is established. Offred is ultimately trying to survive with the new laws that were implemented. Therefore, the quest for survival leads to breaking laws as expressed through the tone of Offred, foreshadowing Offred and her daughter attempted escape, and plot twist of Serena Joy. In the novel, Offred is considered a trustworthy person, but throughout the novel, she loses “trust” ordinarily it is emphasized by the tone that she describes her stories because she is trying to survive by breaking laws.
Early on in the novel Atwood provides the reader with a glimpse into Offred’s desire for power over another person—any person. Offred describes young boys guarding the gate not yet old enough to receive wife/handmaid assignments of their own who instead of touching women for themselves “touch with their eyes” (Atwood 22). In an attempt to assert an amount of control over their feelings, she swings her hips as she passes the boys. She then describes the feeling, “I enjoy the power; power of a dog bone, passive but there” (Atwood 22). Small moments of power similar to this are the only amount of power handmaids can wield.
Offred does not claim her story to be completely true, leaving a room for ambiguity and doubt. In a search for accuracy, she constantly changes her stories, twists and recreates them in a new way. For instance, thinking about her husband Luke, she imagines him being dead, imprisoned, and escaped and believe in “all three versions of Luke, at one and the same time”(121). Another example is her description of her encounter with Nick in several completely different ways and the further confession that “it didn’t happen that way either” (317). Offred admits her story is a reconstruction, because “it’s impossible to say a thing exactly the way it was” (158).
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. This collection consists of various emotions, and
Imagine living in a world where roles are given, freedom is taken, and you must abide to the rules unjust to everyone. Would you fight back, or reluctantly follow these oppressive rules? Offred is an independent and emotional woman who is forced into labor. In the novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, women are forced into certain labor based on their fertility and status in this new society. Both men and women have become oppressed for the sake of the country.
An instance of Offred’s fear of the Eyes in when she converses with the interpreter of the Japanese tour group. She questions whether the man is an agent of the Eyes, here to catch her saying something bad about the current government. She can “feel their bright black eyes, the way they lean a little forward to catch our answers” (Bronte 29). Offred feels pressure by the gaze of the tourists. She cannot tell who she can trust and decides to lie, answering the interpreter's question by stating that yes, the handmaidens are very happy in Gilead.
Oscar Wilde argues that disobedience furthers a society by evoking a change, one that creates positive impacts. In Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, the Republic of Gilead forces Offred to the assignment of bearing children to promote social progress and order. Offred is stripped from her identity by being forced to wear a certain dress and by not being allowed to talk. Throughout the novel, Offred begins to question the purpose of such system, in which human rights are void; however, in a system so oppressive she is confined to her own conscious to rebel against societal impositions. Offred’s inner desire to preserve her identity and rebel opposes her outwardly display of conformity to the normalcy accepted by Gilead.
The story begins with a narrator (Offred) describing an old school that her and other women were held in, and how they lived. Offred tells about how her life in a series of flashbacks and the present. In the present she describes how she wishes she could gossip with the Martha's, and tells us in a flashback about her first meeting with the Commanders Wife, Serena. Gradually through the first ten or so chapters we begin to get a picture of what life is like in this dystopian America, and we come to realize that the Handmaidens, such as Offred, have no freedom and are treated as property with the sole purpose of reproduction. We meet Nick who commits an offense by winking at Offred and who is also ignored by her due to her fear of him being a
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood takes place in the totalitarian theocratic regime of Gilead. This society used biblical language and omission of information to manipulate the general public into submission. Offred has a powerful understanding of how language can influence the population as she experiences it firsthand and uses the same power as a recorder. The recorder has a power that contrasts with her role in the Commander’s household. As the recorder of her own story she controls its presentation, the reader is subject to her unconscious bias.
In this way, she uses her power as narrator to corrupt values. When Offred remembers her feminist mother, she remembers how she wanted a women’s culture. She thinks to herself, “Mother...you wanted a women’s culture...it isn’t what you meant, but it exists” (Atwood 127). By doing this first-person narration, Offred is interpreting for us that the powerful Gilead society corrupted feminist moral values. She says that her mother wanted a women’s culture, and acknowledges that Gilead has given them this, but by corrupting the