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The Importance of the Narrator of The Handmaid's Tale Essay

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The Importance of the Narrator of The Handmaid's Tale



The creation of Offred, the passive narrator of Margaret Atwood's

The Handmaid's Tale, was intentional. The personality of the narrator in

this novel is almost as important as the task bestowed upon her. Atwood

chooses an average women, appreciative of past times, who lacks imagination

and fervor, to contrast the typical feminist, represented in this novel by

her mother and her best friend, Moira.



Atwood is writing for a specific audience, though through careful

examination, it can be determined that the intended audience is actually

the mass population. Although
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Offred is representative of an average women also because she has

experienced no great traumas. She isn't just ambivalent because of her

tendencies but because she has been abruptly interjected into a new society.

She is stunned and almost numb. She barely shows signs of life. She

doesn't think there is any use to have a sense of hope. She thinks of the

woman in "her" room before her. Her strong sense of life did nothing to

help her earn her freedom. She received nothing from her quiet rebellions.



Offred is also obviously the perfect narrator because she is a

handmaiden. In this new system, almost a caste system, the role of being a

handmaiden is not only of great importance, but is also considerably better

than other positions, such as an "unwoman", who cleans toxic waste in the

Colonies. Because Offred is characterized as passive, and mostly compliant,

she is not as much in danger as other characters. Moira, her friend from

college and the previous life, is dynamic and full of life. She doesn't

want to be held back, and her resistence causes her both trouble and
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