Often, we see a society’s cultural values reflected in its citizens. For example, the United States values equality, a standard that is shared in all facets including gender. The opposite is true of Gilead, a fictional society in Emily Bronte’s The Handmaid’s Tale. The novel’s main character, Offred, is subjected to degrading treatment simply because she is a woman. It becomes apparent that this repeated degradation has affected the protagonist’s mind. Through first-person point of view and the motif of eyes, Brontë establishes the effects of Gilead’s patriarchal society on Offred’s psychological and moral traits, revealing that the only way to survive in an oppressive society is to outwardly conform. Bronte’s use of first-person perspective …show more content…
Throughout the novel, Offred constantly feels watched and anxious about people’s views of her. The secret police in Gilead are called the Eyes, and they patrol around, looking for anyone who goes against the country’s values. The motif of eyes represents the surveillance as well as the lack of freedom women face in Gilead. Offred must be careful about what she says around members of the eye, and is always cautious as to what persona she exudes in public. 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. Obviously Offred has been affected by the constant surveillance, she lies in order to protect herself against the consequences that the other handmaiden’s have endured. Further in the novel, we see Offred’s moral traits become even more compromised by her surroundings. When a black van with an eye painted on it drives by her, Offred’s fears that “there must have been microphones, they’ve heard us after all” (Bronte 169). Living in Gilead has taught her to fear her opinions of the society; those before her who rebelled all ended dead. When the police drag a man to the car and brutalize him, Offred’s first feeling is relief and says “What I feel is relief. It wasn’t me.” (Bronte 170). She no longer fights any notion that Gilead’s practices are barbaric and unfair, but feels
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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
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. As chapter 33 begins, the Handmaids are off to the Women’s Prayvaganza (a portmanteau of pray and extravaganza). The event, juxtaposed to the ‘fun festival’ it resembles, is really a mass wedding with girls as young as fourteen married off to Angels (troops).
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.
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).
In the novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Offred has a continuous search for justice for her daughter, in a society in which her idea of justice is starts as one concept and changes to one that she never expected. Margaret Atwood writes Offred as a character who was at once strong-willed, and who would stop at nothing to get what she wanted. Her strength is dimmed at first, when her daughter and husband are first taken from her. Her strength, however comes back in full force when she finds the opportunity to get justice for her daughter. Offred uses the motivation of her daughter to spur a rebellious side of her that disappeared when the new leaders came into power.
The suffocating society of Gilead is presented where individualism is completely taken away from them, and what it means to be human has been completely eroded away from what we know today. To be human today means, to be honest, affectionate, caring, understanding and to have passions. However, being too passionate for something only leads to chaos as seen through Victor 's overpowering desire for knowledge that led to chaotic results. Offred 's identity and individualism have been completely stripped away from her as he legal rights, name and clothes have been destroyed. She 's just another cog in a machine as she is labeled as a handmaid, only valued for her "viable ovaries".
The author also uses rhetorical questions such as “Why tempt her to friendship?” to emphasize the lack of even the possibility of a meaningful connection between Offred and the Marthas. This use of figurative language highlights the inescapable suffering and isolation that Offred encounters while interacting with others, and achieves a hollow, detached tone. In factual recollections of the events occurring, diction and syntax are also crucial in the construction of this isolated, resigned tone While describing exchanges between herself and the rest of the household, Offred uses short, precise sentences, void of intricate words or complex structure.
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
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.
Margaret Atwood wrote about a fear that lives with many, not having any freedom. Offred is one of the thousands of people who have had their freedom taken from them. Her life revolves around keeping others content and doing what she is told, but she begins to get bored and curious. When this occurs, Offred begins to break the rules due to temptation which helps her realize everyone is doing so. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, demonstrates that a lack of freedom leads to a breaking of rules.
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
It is narrated by the protagonist, Offred who is a handmaid forced into sexual servitude. Facing a plunging birth rate, the fundamentalist regime treats women as property of the state. Handmaids are the few of the remaining fertile women and their sole purpose is to help the government into re-populating their society, where a lot of people are left sterile. The Handmaid’s Tale deals with the theme of women in subjugation to misogyny in a patriarchal society, primarily. It shows the struggle that women have to go through in that society, as a Handmaid or as not being able to be one.
This year is the 30th anniversary of the publication of Margaret Atwood 's dystopian classic, The Handmaid 's Tale. The novel is told from a first person account of a young woman, Offred. In an age of declining births, she is forced to become a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, the imagined future in the United States. The Handmaids are to provide children by the substitution of infertile women of a higher social status. Through the creation of different characteristics of female characters – ones who are submissive yet rebellious, and like to take advantage of their power - Margaret Atwood portray themes of love, theocracy, rebellion, and gender roles.
In face of severe situation, people often feel relief when they think of happier, simpler times in order to alleviate the severity. In the fiction novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, written by Margaret Atwood, a theocracy government controls every aspect of life in order to produce the best result of its plans. At the beginning of chapter 12, Offred takes a required, but luxurious bath because she can take off the burdensome wings and veils. While she bathes, Offred remembers her daughter from the past and a time with her family. Atwood compares Offred’s past and present through imagery, tone, similes, and symbolism combined with parallel structure to highlight the vulnerability of women to their surroundings.
Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, argues that women are instruments of the patriarchy, that women know this, and that women allow the system of oppression to live on. Her fictions ask, “What stories do women tell about themselves? What happens when their stories run counter to literary conventions or society’s expectations?” (Lecker 1). The Handmaid’s Tale is told through the protagonist, Offred, and allows readers to follow through her life as a handmaid while looking back on how life used to be prior to the societal changes.