Rebellion in The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood

Powerful Essays
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. The rebel

is constantly is resisting. The only way he/she can defend his morals

and values are to strike the greater that condemns his/her values and

morals. Unfortunately today there are many misconceptions and

preconceptions relating to the essence of a true rebel. Society tends

to comprehend the rebel to be figure fighting on the front lines,

spilling blood for his cause. Especially the media has delivered this

image of a rebel. We must acknowledge the fact there are other forms

of rebels and rebellions. It is not fair to say that the form of rebel

that is described above is not valid, but still we must make a

suitable distinction. We must not always consider the rebel to be an

individual like 'William Wallace' who fought for his country's

independence by using violence as his primary weapon. In the course of

history we have witnessed another category of rebels. Characters such

as Mahatma Ghandi, Dr. Martin Luther King and Emmeline Pankhurst all

gave birth to another form of rebel, the rebel that fought for his

values passively. They did not confront the enemy with the sword but

with words.

The novel 'The Handmaids Tale' by Margaret Atwood tells the story of a

near future oppressive society govern...

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...poke out against them in the

loudest voice possible. Offred's cassettes did more than just speak

her voice. I feel that the true reason why Offred did not assign her

name is because she wanted to speak universally. Offred wanted to

speak in the name of all handmaids.

In studying Offred's rebellion we can see that she suffered an

internal conflict. Offred's plight is always human as well as

ideological. She wanted to rebel but at the same time she was scared

of loosing herself in the process. Offred had to win the conflict

within her before she could start the external battle. Offred won this

conflict and decided that her humanity was the risk for a great cause,


'As long as women consent to be unjustly governed, they will be; but

directly women say: "We withhold our consent," we will not be governed

any longer as long as government is unjust.'