Mutability of identity in The Road and The Handmaids Tale

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“Dystopian literature invites the reader to reflect upon the mutability of identity.” By comparing The Handmaid’s Tale and The Road, discuss how far, and in what ways the two novels support or refute this claim? Within dystopian literature, identity is something that can be seen as an individual’s most core and precious element. Exposed against a scarcity of freedom in self-expression, we can begin to fully appreciate and understand the importance in the role of identity as well as its robustness. The role of identity and its manipulation is often explored within dystopian literature to exemplify weaknesses in human psychology as well as to destroy false images of strength and superiority that we apply to ourselves. In both The Road and…show more content…
If the whole story is just a memory, many of the “facts” are again adjusted to fit the narrator’s ex-post perspective. The Handmaid even offers three versions of the story of her and Nick having sex for the first time – here, Atwood again addresses the stereotypical expectations of romantic love and depicts three possible realities which play on Offred’s wishful thinking”2. Offred’s unreliability as narrator is furthered due to the that the fact that the tapes have been ordered by somebody else , but also because she is telling the story after it has happed. Hindsight surely must have shaped her opinions in some form. As well as exploring natural conflict within the human mind, as the novel progresses it becomes clearer that Offred does not always reflect the typical aspects of what is deemed as a normal mentality. As Offred’s perceptions of reality seem to merge more and more with her imagination we are made aware that isolated under the regime of Gilead, sanity is at least something Offred has to now fight for. "Sanity is a valuable possession; I save it, so I will have enough when the time comes." Insanity has always had in place amongst the control of totalitarian regimes ‘following the fall of the Soviet Union, it was often reported that some opposition activists and journalists were detained in Russian psychiatric institutions to intimidate and isolate them from

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