In the story, Atwood uses individuality, or lack thereof, consistently to provide insight on how passivity in a society can force one to submit their basic civil rights and their very existence into the hands of the societal authorities. This lack of individuality is best portrayed by the lack of the protagonist’s name. In place of her real name, the name Offred is given, indicating that the narrator is merely a possession of her Commander by having to take up his first name. In the novel, Atwood deliberately avoids the use of Offred’s real name, later giving the explanation that her name isn 't actually Offred and that she has “another name, which nobody uses now because it 's forbidden” (Atwood 84). From early on it is clearly shown that all individuality is prohibited, not only through names, but also through the different clothing that is worn by each status in the society. Throughout the beginning chapters of the novel, Offred talks about the various uniforms worn by the people of Gilead, from the Handmaids red attire to th...
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... passivity, everyone decides to go along with it, never questioning the power of this supposed republic. This goes to illustrate just how corrupt a government can be if not frequently checked by its people.
Through passivity, society can become a terrifying and unruly place. Although not creating chaos, it is shown in Atwood’s work on just how damaging passivity can be. Through the context in her novel, Atwood shows just how vulnerable one can become through passivity in a society like Gilead. This vulnerability is not only be brought on by any strong government, but rather one which subdues its people using fear, deceit, and corruption. As time goes on, that power becomes stronger, extinguishing the spirit of the people. This supremacy can only be undone if one has the strength to fight back passivity, sparking a flame, for only then can a fire be started.
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