Gilead As A Dystopian Society In The Handmaid's Tale Essay

Gilead As A Dystopian Society In The Handmaid's Tale Essay

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In Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the reader may perceive Gilead as an orderly structured society at which everything is placed in a position to be convenient for the general public. From the reader’s perspective, this sounds helpful for the organization of certain conflicts that were relevant to the previous government policies; however, Offred, the narrator, shows that this perception is inaccurate. Her dark and mundane tone express her experience through a depressing dystopia, which she is forced to live in. With this being said, this dystopian society punctures her personal motivation to be useful, resulting in her constant referral to the past as a way to avoid her reality. Offred’s psychological distress causes her to use the avoidance of her previous name to distract her from Gilead’s manipulative objectives. The reasons for the avoidance of her real name is to give her a sense of purpose and to fill her mind with nostalgia.
Offred’s avoidance of her real name allows her to perceive herself as a person who lives two different lives. She is able to ignite her memories of a time where she used to find a true purpose in life and is able to distract herself from the dystopia’s manipulation. This motivation she gains through the avoidance of her real name helps her realize that she can both become a handmaid physically but also can keep her mind filled with forbidden thoughts. The narrator tells the audience that her “name isn’t Offred,” and continues to say “I have another name, which nobody uses now because it’s forbidden… your name is like your telephone number, useful only to others; but what I tell myself is wrong, it does matter. I keep the knowledge of this name like something hidden, some treasure ill come back ...


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...stalgically says, “It’s a Saturday morning in September, I’m wearing my shining name. The little girl who is now dead sits in the back seat, with her two best dolls, her stuffed rabbit... I know all the details, (84)” which shows that she is using memories of her family to keep her thoughts flowing. “I’m wearing my shining name” expresses that her name is something that brings light to her darkness. This exact phrase shows the reader that her memory enables her mind with positive vibes. When the narrator then says “The little girl who is now dead sits in the back seat” shows us that Offred is indecisive about her own child’s life. At this moment, the reader realizes that her indecisive thoughts keep her distracted from Gilead’s communist ideals. This quote shows that Offred not only thinks about her memories but analyzes them to prolong her escape from this dystopia.

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