The Handmaid 's Tale By Margaret Atwood Essay

The Handmaid 's Tale By Margaret Atwood Essay

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The Handmaid`s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a novel that displays a vast amount of issues. One of those main themes in the novel is identity. In the Handmaid`s Tale the main character and narrator of our story deals with issues of identity. She battles throughout the story trying to find out who she is and remembering who she was. She constantly makes comparisons and contrasts with the life she is living in Gilead to the life she lived before the regime. As readers we notice the lack of identity of this character since the beginning. The narrator often tries to resolve her issues of identity by rebelling and finding a sense of purpose for her life. She does this by maintaining illegal relationships and reminding herself who she was. Towards the end of the story we find that Atwood gives the narrator a sense of self-confidence that she didn’t have at the beginning. Atwood presents the importance of finding a sense of purpose in life associated to identity and self worth.
In the first chapter the setting of the story takes place in a gymnasium. The narrator is with other women in there. They are being indoctrinated by aunts, and being guard by angels. They are being taught the rules of Gilead that come directly from the Holy Scriptures. She also being restricted from her freedom of speech as we read on page 4: “ We learn to whisper almost without a sound. In the semidarkness we could stretch out our arms, when the Aunts weren`t looking, and touch each other`s hands across space. We learned to lip-read, our heads flat on the beds, turned sideways, watching each other`s mouth” (Atwood, 4). Not only her freedom of speech was taken away but also that sense of touch. Atwood remarks the importance of human touch as a need for a self-sense i...


... middle of paper ...


...joyed the sense of touch and embrace. She revived her self-awareness.
Atwood helps us understand the importance of finding your true self in the odds of your circumstances. In her novel we learn the importance that power, control and self-purpose can have on ones identity. What shapes your true self doesn’t merely depends on your belongings or things you own but really on your sense of belonging and self- confidence. On page 281 we read: “I am, I am. I am, still”(Atwood 281). Offred realizes by the end of the book that she is a woman. That even in a place like Gilead she is someone. She was someone before Gilead. She still is someone during the regime Gilead. She endured till the end to an uncertain future with a different personality. Atwood leaves us with a very ambiguous ending. Maybe she escaped to a different world with a new awareness of who she was a woman.

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