Identity In The Handmaids Tale

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One of the key components of speculative fiction often revolves around the silencing of voices, particularly of oppressed and marginalised people. Consequently, oral history, as evidenced by Offred’s narrative, becomes the most prominent way in which people’s voices can be heard and the questionable practices of dystopian society exposed. The Handmaid’s Tale effectively explores how the repressive environment in which the handmaids find themselves offers them little freedom, stripping them of identity and, with no means to record their testimony in writing, compromising the veracity of their experiences. While all members of Gileadean society suffer from a lack of freedom, the handmaids are the ones whose lives are most significantly restricted.…show more content…
The ultimate loss of identity is evident through the loss of name for handmaids shown as “My name isn't Offred, I have another name, which nobody uses now because it's forbidden. I tell myself it doesn't matter, your name is like your telephone number, useful only to others; but what I tell myself is wrong, it does matter.” Their unique individual names are replaced with OF followed by the first name of the commander they work for. This shows that handmaids are seen as a possessive item of the commander. Throughout the text, we are given the ultimate loss of identity as we are never told Offred’s real name which demolishes her individuality. As Offred deserted a bland meal, she hurried home to Commander Warren’s home. At the side of Ofwarren, whose labour pains precede Aunt Elizabeth's assisted delivery of baby Angela, Offred witnesses one of the more pleasant moments in an otherwise bleak series of scenarios. As the Handmaids chant encouragement, the Wives leave their banqueting and prepare Warren's Wife for the Birthing Stool, through which Ofwarren's child is born. This scene shows us the lack of care for a handmaid, as no emotion is shown to the birth giver, however she is still scene as a handmaid and this was one of her duties. In contrast to the loss of identity, Moira, who is seen at Jezebel’s, has a sense of self is maintained throughout
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