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Offred's Narrative in The Handmaid's Tale Essay

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Offred's Narrative in The Handmaid's Tale "Writing is an act of faith; I believe it's also an act of hope, the
hope that things can be better than they are" MargaretAtwood

Offred is an oppressed woman in the patriarchal society of Gilead. She
is telling her story to an unknown reader. We learn about Offred
through her own personal private thoughts. The novel shifts abruptly
from one scene to another and from present time to the past, so that
Offred's present situation and her past are only gradually revealed.
She uses her storytelling as survival tactic, it gives her hope that
maybe someone will listen to it one day. Atwood uses "night" as a
chapter heading several times, this is the time when Offred reminisces
about the past.

"The night is mine."

Offred is not repressed or told what to do at night. She is free
because nobody can control her thoughts.

Offred tries to stay positive throughout the novel by re-creating
people from her past. She believes there still alive and reconstructs
them in her memory. We learn about them as the novel goes on bit by
bit and we hear mostly only the good things about them.

Offred often remembers her best friend, Moira, who is her strength and
her hope throughout the novel.

"Moira was our fantasy. We hugged her to us, she

Was in secret, a giggle; she was lava beneath the crust of daily life.
In

Light Moira, Aunts were less fearsome and more absurd."

Moira is an inspiration to all the Hand...


... middle of paper ...


...red 200 years later to us, the readers, and we're left to decide
what has happened to her and how her story ended. The historical notes
help us to understand why Offred's narrative was fragmented, because
her story was recorded on tapes which weren't in the right order and
so had to be pieced together. However the notes do not tell us whether
she escaped or not, we don't know if she recorded these while still in
the regime or after she escaped. We are still left with unanswered
questions at the end of the novel and Offred's story remains
incomplete.

Atwood wanted us, as readers, to view our own society and to see the
faults in it. She is trying to emphasis people's complacency and how
we get used to things and can't be bothered to change our situation.
Atwood believes things can be changed to be better than they are.


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