Critical Appreciation Of The Handmaid's Tale

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Margaret Atwood does not conclude The Handmaid’s Tale. She presents two options to the reader on the ultimate fate of the main protagonist, Offred. The optimistic one portrays Nick as helping her escape to freedom with the people disguised as the Eyes. The other, more pessimistic one, suggests Nick betrays her by reporting her to the Eyes and leading her, one assumes, to her death. While Atwood provides details that could be pointed towards a more positive ending, she does not dictate which one occurs. This is interesting because it shows up frequently throughout her writing and allots itself as part of a thematic pattern. By using Offred, Atwood is allowed to go into great detail describing the significance of scenes but not obtain enough…show more content…
Offred presents different outcomes as to how the interaction with Nick could have happened. In the first, and more hopeful one, Offred produces a romantic version through “love, it’s been so long, I’m alive in my skin…” (pg. 261). She describes the scene as one from a movie, almost perfect in nature. She goes in depth describing the setting of thunder to connote a romantic atmosphere, contradicting the frequent awkward scenes that make up this book. In the other scenario, she describes an alternative with a more realistic approach, one in which it is strictly, “No romance” (pg. 262). Nick and Offred speak in movie dialogues to cover up what they truly wanted to say as they don’t really know each other. She contemplates her situation and Nick comforts her. In the end, she confesses, “It didn’t happen that way either. I’m not sure how it happened; not exactly” (263). Offred leads the reader on to believe each scenario and then announces that it was a stretch from the truth that she cannot clearly recall. This is an effective moment to symbolize over other examples because it falls along the lines of the biggest plot twist in this book; Offred and Nick secretly having an affair. She decides to tell the story of her affair in the last moment possible and mentions, “Neither of us says the word love, not once. It would be tempting fate; it would be romance, bad luck”…show more content…
Back in the beginning of the book, Offred claimed, “If it’s a story that I’m telling, then I have control over the ending” (pg. 39). This correlates to how Offred chose the ending of her story, “And so I step up, into the darkness within; or else the light.” (pg. 295). She chose to end her story in a way that limits the options into two specific ones, escape or death. In the prologue, Historical Notes, the perspective changes and 200 years later, professors attempt to discover information on Offred. By not revealing her name and her whereabouts, other aspects of the story that are concealed, she was able to make her fate mysterious. However, the tapes that recorded her story were found in Maine, which suggests that Offred was traveling through “The Underground Femaleroad” (pg. 301). The parallel to this in modern society is the Underground Railroad. The primary purpose of this was to set up a path that helped slaves escape to freedom to the North and Canada. The Underground Femaleroad alludes to this and advocates that this was a network for people in Gilead, who resemble the slaves, to escape to Canada. This all implies that Offred was able to escape and prove the theory that arose from the cliffhanger. It was through these findings that Atwood was able to specify Offred’s fate. However, the question now falls on whether she was

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