The narrator depicts the setting in a forlorn, abandoned way; Offred describes her room in the same way as she looks out the window, questioning the existence of something as big as the moon. The sky is described as being, “full of deadly hardware, but oh God, how beautiful anyway,” and it shows just how much pleasure comes from being able to think of beauty. Offred experiences minor depersonalization and speaks of herself using plural pronouns, as if she is a representative for all the Handmaids of Gilead. She already knows that all of the other women in Gilead also feel the oppression, yet most try to anticipate a change in the system, “[they] can believe that we [they] will some day get out, that we [they] will be touched again, in love or desire.” However, Atwood’s use of first person point of view offers the reader with only the inner workings of Offred’s mind; helping readers to relate to the main protagonist.
The point of view that this novel is written in also contributes to the long, run-on sentence structure. The sentences are lengthy because a majority of them are Offred’s thoughts or recollection of memories; her mind is always thinking about something because that is the one thing she has control of, and hence her true personality is isolated within her. “Buttered, I lie on my single bed, flat, like a piece of to...
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...ing I have no way of knowing: I have given myself over to the hands of stranger, because it can’t be helped.” (295). Luck plays a larger role in the narrator’s escape than her actually having the tenacity to leave. Offred’s thoughts show fewer insurgents compared to Moira’s actions of running away but she is of course, opposed to this totalitarian state. As her new name may suggest, Offred wears the red gowns of a handmaid, but she wants to support anything but that color; her mind is askew to the rules and hence, she is not the ideal representation of red, but instead “off-red”. Society today is composed of various beliefs; nations struggle to find unity in controversial topics of racism, abortion, and equality. The focus of The Handmaid’s Tale bewilders one to think how many “off-reds” are stuck in their bodies trying to escape today’s world—truly a wake-up call.
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