One of the many prevailing themes in literature is that power is gained and can be manipulated when restraints are placed on natural desires of the individual. This passage is significant because it is an example of this theme, for it shows how power and manipulation have completely changed and restricted the people, especially women, of Gilead. Due to this, the passage reveals the shared anger that the Handmaids possess, and the cruelty that has been brought upon the society. The use of similes, diction, syntax, and illustrate the impact that this event had on Offred, for she feels such anger towards the unknown man and the crime he has supposedly committed. These literary and rhetorical devices additionally serve to make this event seem as
The handmaids tale is a novel by Margaret Atwood, It describes the life of a woman who is documenting her life as it goes on, As the book progresses we are able to see the amount of torture (physical and mental) that the woman of Gilead receive. Offred and other women in Gilead are well aware of Gilead’s rules and Offred acknowledges the punishments and the torture she will endure if she does not obey. Throughout the novel we can begin to see Offred disobey the rules and begin fighting the
Our identities are key to our understanding of the world. Mental models through which information is processed are built off of life experience, taught ethics and morals, and upbringing. Identity is discussed in the following texts - The Politics of Exile by Elizabeth Dauphinee, “Unlearning the Myth of American Innocence” by Suzy Hansen, and “Letter to America” by Aida Hozic - through various themes of American culture. Dauphinee, in particular, examines the depth of personal identity and its ability to change. All three works consider the many components of personal identity and its formation as well as its undoing.
Atwood has constructed the novel as a first person narrative in which Offred offers her point of view as a Handmaid living in The Republic of Gilead. “The guards weren't allowed inside the building except when called, and we weren't allowed out, except for our walks, twice daily, two by two around the football field, which was enclosed now by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire” (Atwood 16). The reader is not able to interpret what is happening outside of the enclosed area that the Handmaids are living in. This creates ambiguity because Offred cannot inform the reader because of her circumstances which generates ambiguity. Further, this relationship communicates the theme of freedom because the Handmaids do not have any freedom to explore outside of the enclosed premises and they are not allowed to talk to anyone outside including the angels. Due to the ambiguity generated through the imprisonment of women the reader is left to wonder what is happening in other parts of the
Identity is one’s perception that shapes one’s mind. It reflects the outer aspect of personality and the life choices we make as an individual. In Anthem by Ayn Rand, a dystopian futuristic novelfuture, Equality talks about how society is integrated to try to control his mind, body, and spirit. In “Don’t. The secret of self control” by Jonah Lehrer, a nonfiction article, Lehrer explains an experiment where children are determined to be a high or low delayers. Furthermore, In “Who Holds The Clicker” by Lauren Slater, a nonfiction article, Slater explains analyzes the fear of how brain implants can treat intractable mental illness. The formation of identity is created when a person is tied to the choices he makes,
The innovative novel Brave New World exploits the theme of the search for identity through its futuristic environment and society, which causes the main protagonist John to become sequestered from the others. In contrast, in the novel Brave New World individuals are supposed to be happy with their identity as it states, ‘…COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY’ (Huxley 1). Although each individual is placed into their own cast either as an alpha, beta, or gamma, they are supposed to be happy. In this obscure society, ‘the people who accidentally attain knowledge have only two choices if they are to survive: they can become oppressors or outcasts’ (‘Brave New’…6). This relates to my theme of identity as these people are constrained to limited amounts
The Narrator Offred is a Handmaid in Gilead, a totalitarian and theocratic state. Due to very low reproduction rates, Handmaids are assigned to different elite couples to bear children for them , because they have trouble conceiving. Offred is assigned to the Commander and his wife Serena Joy, she was once a gospel singer and advocate. The name Offred was assigned to the narrator, all handmaid names begin with “of” followed by the Commander’s name. Each month during ovulation Offred must have sex with the Commander while his wife sits behind her holding her hands. Offred has no freedom and is completely restriced, she has to wear a uniform, she is only allow to leave the house to go shopping or to go to prescribed events, she is not allowed to shut the doors to her room completely and her every move is watched.
Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaids Tale, is a story of a dystopian society set in the land of Gilead. The premise of The Handmaids Tale is the creation a masculine dominated civilization in which not only are the rights of women oppressed, but the basic rights of humanity. Everything, even and up to sex, has been desensitized, which destroys the concept of family, as men have sex with and impregnate handmaids, not their wives, as a means of conception and reproduction. While the officials of the Republic of Gilead attempt to suppress all evidence of the past, it is impossible to do so. The novels main character, and narrative voice, is a handmaid named Offred. Early on in the novel, she describes her home in this future, tyrannical society. The glimpse she provides, through symbolism, demonstrates to the reader the main themes of the novel, and allows the reader to identify the failures of Gilead in upholding its principles. A closer look at chapter two of The Handmaids Tale foreshadows many of the thematic elements established throughout the novel. The idea of family, represented by the Late Victorian house, the necessity of both the wives and the handmaids, represented by the color of the flowers, and the notion of time, represented by the grandfather clock are the books integral themes.
Offred’s statement provides evidence of Gilead’s success in detaching the Handmaids with themselves. In Gilead, the society focuses on dehumanizing the Handmaids and only taking value in their ability to reproduce. Offred’s separation from her body is a coping method to ignore the acts she must commit. By separating herself, Offred expresses no ownership or admittance to being abused. However, as Offred starts a relationship with Nick, she gets a glimpse of her old life.
Imagine, all of a sudden, being forced to begin a new life. The Handmaid’s Tale is a story about a reformed society based on an altered bible where there are specific social castes. The Handmaids are women who are fertile and have children with Commanders because the Commanders’ Wives are sterile or too old to have children. The novel follows a Handmaid named Offred and her life as a Handmaid. Offred frequently remembers her past life of her husband and daughter. Offred dislikes being a Handmaid, but it is better than the other choice of being sent to the hazardous Colonies. Offred develops several interesting relationships and learns of the secret society, Mayday. Offred, the Commander, and Nick are unorthodox characters in Margaret Atwood’s
The novel frequently details main character Offred’s sexual experiences, both in her flashbacks and in her reality as a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. Many times the descriptions of intercourse are anything but passionate, depicting her thoughts as scattered and empty. Offred is treated as an object, a womb with legs, and very rarely does she receive any sort of genuine affection.
Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, is a dystopian story of a woman’s worth and role in society. The novel is in the perspective of Offred, a handmaid from the dystopian United States: the Republic of Gilead. Women have always been told and perceived to be submissive to men, since the beginning of time. This story, is no exception to this belief, as Handmaids are women stripped of their rights as a human. Atwood’s story The Handmaid’s Tale suggests that the desire for freedom is what all human beings seek for and captures this idea through the protagonist, Offred.
Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, introduces readers to a horrific dystopian future in which the government of the United States is overthrown, replaced with a violent and oppressive religious regime and renamed the Republic of Gilead. Under the new government, women are little more than objects, sorted and utilized for their abilities to bear children. The world that Margaret Atwood creates through the narration of the main character, Offred, is one in which women are exploited, marginalized and dominated by a misogynistic, patriarchal regime and depicts the struggle that commences. The theories developed by Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud, when used in conjunction
Dystopian texts explore unfavorable future societies of the authors’ worst fears, a parallel understanding of an apparent contemporary concept, constructing an unfamiliar perspective that is conceivable and relatable. The realization that the prospect of a dystopian future is built upon the contingent impact from the present, a fabrication of actions and inactions from collective judgments of society. This idea of a contingent impact is reflected to a significant extent in the dystopian text, Handmaids Tale, written by Margaret Atwood in 1985. The novel entails adventures from the perspective of protagonist Offred, a handmaid in a fragmented society run by misogynistic and theocratic totalitarian government. It explores a reality in which a familiar concept of autonomy, sexual prejudice and oppression in the present is metamorphosed into a domineering structural pillar in dystopian world. For these reasons, Atwood challenges the reader with an imaginative creation of the future with a contingent dependence on the present, exemplifying these matters and intensifying the potential future under the reign of a totalitarian society.
Throughout The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood utilizes various elements of fiction to develop and question the concept of power and control in the patriarchal society of Gilead. Offred, the main Handmaid, is the instrument of which Atwood delivers her message about corruption and power. Offred’s vague diction, unreliable characterization, and erratic tone illustrate the distress of this transitional society (Abcarian 1403-1404). In the beginning of Chapter 23, the role of memory in the novel expands, and the readers test the narrator’s creditability. Offred concludes that all of her memories are “reconstructions”, and that she will continue this practice even if she escapes Gilead. She continues to relate fluid memories to forgiveness and forgiveness to an unnaturally complacent and obedient population (Atwood 134-135). Identifying a powerful relationship between memories, forgiveness, and power, Offred suggests that the main source of Gilead’s totalitarian power is the regime’s ability to manipulate its citizens’ will to forgive past transgressions.