Handmaid's Tale Identity

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The American science fiction and fantasy author Richard Grant once said that “the value of identity of course is that so often with it comes purpose.” In both The Awakening by Kate Chopin and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, the main protagonists search for their identities through the context of their daily lives. In correlation with the preceding quotation, in The Awakening, after a vacation opens her eyes to all that she has been missing in her life, she becomes desperate to find herself outside of the mother-woman while in The Handmaid’s Tale, the narrator must decide which parts of her identity she wants to hold on to and who she is in the trying times of the Gileadean society. The two novels demonstrate the journey of these women…show more content…
Unlike The Handmaid’s Tale, the search for herself is very much so conscious and self-empowered. Following her family’s vacation and her relationship with Robert, she realizes some things about herself that she doesn’t particularly admire. She feels as if she lives too much in the moment, has become stuck in her ways and is not showing who she actually is. She describes a feeling of having two identities of the “outward existence which conforms, the inward life which questions” (ch 7. pg) Edna’s inner identity reaches the breakpoint where it is necessary for her well-being that it is expressed. At this point, nothing else matters besides her intuitions and desires. This brings difficulty to her familiar relationships and friendships due to her rejection of living according to her role as a mother and a wife. Even though this conflict is addressed, it does not make an impact on her decision to remain a bit selfish through this time that she is finding herself. As a way of explaining her state of mind, Edna states that she "would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn't give myself. I can't make it more clear; it's only something which I am beginning to comprehend, which is revealing itself to me." (ch, pg) She has concluded that her true identity of who she envisions herself to be is essential to her future
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