Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood

  • Length: 1156 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

The Handmaid's Tale
The Handmaid's Tale is a gripping novel about one woman's struggle through a revolution of extremism. In this society of severe military rule, her position is one of slavery were she is used for breeding. She is under constant surveillance and any miscue she makes can result in death. We follow her along this path as she meets different characters, goes through daring situations, and reflects on her former life. The thing about the novel that is so striking is seeing all the human emotions and the characters adapt in the most inhumane of times. From seeing all the different aspects of fear, apathy and hope, the book shows how survival in such bleak times can still be possible.
Upon learning of the woman's circumstances, I can't help but think how I could never last under such unbearable conditions, no one could. Especially since she is from the United States, with a family and a normal life of freedom, having all this going only to have it ripped away makes the situation that much more awful. But the thing that Atwood portrays so well is what is going through her mind, along with what she believes others are thinking. I can't help but draw parallels to this situation with those such as holocaust survivors when I think how someone could withstand so much.
The day to day emotion portrayed by the woman is one of trying to remain emotionless. Throughout the book she says over and over about many things that "I try not to think about it." This seems to be about the only way one could keep from killing oneself in such deprivation in comparison to before. However, in such trying times that task seems easier said than done. The woman focuses on details and surroundings as opposed to emotions to pass time; we see her step by step make herself robotic for most of the day. She often thinks back to her husband and child but whenever the feelings begin to become too much to bare she shuts them off as though she had a switch. Many times when she is in her flashbacks she seems to do so with no real emotion. She thinks of how things were to pass time as opposed to feel something in certain instances.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood." 123HelpMe.com. 21 Mar 2018
Title Length Color Rating  
Rebellion in The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood Essay - Rebellion in The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood 'Rebel' is a term, which is highly weighed down with emotion. In society today we perceive a rebel to be a figure opposing a much stronger majority. We distinguish the rebel to be a character who fights for his/her own ideals. We see a person that will do anything almost being ruthless to destroy the boundaries set up against him/her by the stronger mass. We witness the rebel as an individual who deliberately defines a battlefield and two fighting fronts....   [tags: Rebel The Handmaids Tale Literature Essays] 2652 words
(7.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on The Handmaids Tale, by Margaret Atwood - In Margaret Atwoods ‘The Handmaids Tale’, we hear of one women’s posting ‘Offred’ in the Republic of Gilead. A society based around Biblical philosophies as a way to validate inhumane state practises. In a society of declining birth rates, fertile women are chosen to become Handmaids, walking incubators, whose role in life is to reproduce for barren wives of commanders. Older women, gay men, and barren Handmaids are sent to the colonies to clean toxic waste. Fear is power. Fear is ever-present in Gilead; it is implemented through violence and force....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Summary] 735 words
(2.1 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood Essays - ... The narrator Offred is a Handmaid and she explains how she feels “erased” and how she is powerless and becomes suicidal. During pre-Gilead, the rights of women were abolished, and given to the closest family male member. This is where Offred feels powerless because her husband Luke wanted to make love that night the law was passed for women, but she refused because she felt that Luke now had more power than her. She also felt as if she wasn’t independent anymore. At the Commanders house, Offred has a relationship with the Commander and decides to use his power for her own....   [tags: gilead, dystopian society, power] 775 words
(2.2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay about Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale The Handmaid's Tale is a gripping novel about one woman's struggle through a revolution of extremism. In this society of severe military rule, her position is one of slavery were she is used for breeding. She is under constant surveillance and any miscue she makes can result in death. We follow her along this path as she meets different characters, goes through daring situations, and reflects on her former life. The thing about the novel that is so striking is seeing all the human emotions and the characters adapt in the most inhumane of times....   [tags: Atwood Handmaid's Tale] 1156 words
(3.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on A Look into Gilead- Women - If one were to scale in human nature, that determines the desired state of man and the role in which they play in society they could apply it to the lense of gender criticism. The left having the undesired state of man; a life full of sickness, poverty, dissatisfaction, disrespectfulness, and unhappiness. As for the right; a life containing health, wealth, satisfaction, respect, and happiness. Many different aspects go into such a scale like education, gender, and class. An author could use this scale in order to classify the roles of their characters in their novel....   [tags: The Handmaids Tale, Margaret Atwood]
:: 6 Works Cited
1405 words
(4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Margaret Atwood use of Language and Narrative Technique in The Handmaids Tale - From the outset of 'The Handmaids Tale' the reader is placed in an unknown world, where the rights and freedom of women have been taken away. We follow the narrative journey of a handmaid, named Offred. Throughout the first 15 Chapters we are provided with information, as narrated by Offred, with glimpses of her past life and her journey to the life she is now facing. These glimpses are not logical in their sequencing or chronological in the narration, therefore creating a feeling of disorientation among readers, a feeling matching that experienced by those living in this society....   [tags: essays research papers] 1615 words
(4.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Rebellion in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale Essay - Rebellion in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale "Rebels defy the rules of society, risking everything to retain their humanity. If the world Atwood depicts is chilling, if 'God is losing,' the only hope for optimism is a vision that includes the inevitability of human struggle against the prevailing order." -Joyce Johnson- Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale analyzes human nature by presenting an internal conflict in Offred: acceptance of current social trends (victim mentality) -vs- resistance for the sake of individual welfare and liberties (humanity)....   [tags: Handmaids Tale] 2092 words
(6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale - I Tell, Therefore I Am In Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale, women are subjected to unthinkable oppression. Practically every aspect of their life is controlled, and they are taught to believe that their only purpose is to bear children for their commander. These “handmaids” are not allowed to read, write or speak freely. Any type of expression would be dangerous to the order of the Gilead’s strict society. They are conditioned to believe that they are safer in this new society. Women are supposedly no longer exploited or disrespected (pornography, rape, etc.) as they once were....   [tags: Margaret Atwood The Handmaid's Tale] 878 words
(2.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about Handmaids Tale - The aim of the indoctrination centres is clearly shown by the quote: "Some women believed there would be no future, they thought the world would explode. That was the excuse they used, says Aunt Lydia. They said there was no sense in breeding. Aunt Lydia's nostrils narrow: such wickedness. They were lazy women, she says. They were sluts. . . . They made mistakes, says Aunt Lydia. We don't intend to repeat them. Her voice is pious, condescending, the voice of those whose duty it is to tell us unpleasant things for our own good....   [tags: Margaret Atwood] 944 words
(2.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale Essay - Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale Love of God replaces love of humanity in Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale. Offred’s recollections of her past life, especially of her husband, are ones filled with passion and happiness as she remembers his tenderness towards her. Much more emphasis is put on the physical human form in her memories; she often remembers lying with her husband while she wears little or no clothing. Appreciation of the human form is an essential component of loving humanity....   [tags: Margaret Atwood Handmaid Tale Essays] 1418 words
(4.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]

Related Searches

This is no doubt a talent she has acquired from being through such hell.
I find it compelling the way she uses her emotions with such control. The woman does not even care to think of her name anymore because that time no longer exists. We never even get told her name; just her new name of Offred is briefly mentioned. At first I thought her feelings were that of hopelessness in these situations, only to realize it was simply a technique of indifference she learns. The vivid sex scenes with her commander, when she has already conveyed her love for Luke and hatred of this duty, seems like something horrendous, but she simply stairs up at the ceiling fan to block out reality. However, as apathetic as the woman seems, she still is very much alive.
Acting emotionless is fine for getting through a task, but the characters need feeling in order to be able to survive. This is where the underlying sense of hope becomes evident. All the characters in the book are living their lives based off a small bit of hope. The woman looks for all the good in her life and all the things she can be grateful for. The way she finds happiness in little things such as going to the market, nice spring weather, little gestures by others, or simply through flashbacks, shows that she believes things can get better. The way she becomes friendlier with Cora, learns to like her commander, and develops romantic feelings for Nick show that she is far from giving up. These feelings can also be seen in other characters, which helps show how not just one person, but a whole society can survive in such times. Moira believes escape is still possible. Ofglen is obviously involved in some sort of network rebelling against the army. But we can also see signs of hope in other characters that are less drastic, but still very much there. Serena Joy helps the woman despite their awkward situation, which leaves an underlying sense of good intention and optimism. The commander shows he is still hopeful in his acts of defiance. Even the friendship Cora provides the woman is an act of hope, as the book said Cora put her faith in the woman and was essentially living through her. But hope in this society also proved to be a downfall for the woman.
The epitome of hope often gets overlooked, that is the act of self preservation. Basic survival to live another day, shows people's expectation of a brighter future. This new government is aware of that and uses this to it's advantage in the form of fear. The people are so scared of the consequences they are willing to sell each other out. We see people sacrificing others for their own survival. This combination of people being optimistic for the future, yet so fearful for the day keeps most in line and a formidable revolution nearly impossible. Two people as opposed to the military rule as the woman and Ofglen are still remain so scared to speak of it; they don't even realize each others similar viewpoints until they have known each other a long time. The novel demonstrates how fear and the human instinct to survive can be such a powerful tool that it can drive something as evil as the new government when put in that situation.
These vivid emotions are what grabbed me the most in the novel. This world and lifestyle that seemed so surreal at a glance, but through the woman's feelings and the way I related to some of them, made it not only exist, but put me right in the middle of it. Before I would pick up the book each time, I would have a different outlook at that moment than I would after I'd put it down. I would think how I have too much homework, or how hard practice is, or how stressful things are, then I would get caught up in this world the woman was living and all those feelings I had suddenly seemed absurd. I notice how many little things I take for granted and just how blessed I am to be here. The way the book not only embodied such emotion, but also gave me such feelings is what impressed me the most.

Return to 123HelpMe.com