Unorthodoxy is everywhere in peoples lives. It can be as simple as someone walking on the wrong side of the hallway; too as significant as a nation joining together to help overthrow the power in charge. Unorthodoxy is the single greatest threat to a governing body. Remove this threat and all your problems go away. Removing this threat is exactly what has happened in The Handmaid’s Tale. This novel is set in a dystopian society where the Gilead theocracy is in charge. These leaders have eliminated all unorthodoxy in the society. Taking away many peoples freedoms and creating strict social classes. Anyone not high up on this social ladder has had basic rights taken away from him or her, such as being allowed to read. The main character, Offred, is a handmaid in this society and her only purpose is to have her commander’s baby. While the leaders of this society seek to destroy all forms of unorthodoxy, many are still very much present. Every person is unorthodox in his or her own way, no matter how small. In Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, this unorthodoxy is present in three very intriguing characters: the first being Offred, the next her Commander, and the last being a guardian named Nick.
Offred plays the role of a Handmaid in the Gilead republic, which means her only real purpose, according to the government, is to get pregnant. Offred is completely dehumanized, therefore, she constantly longs for her old life. This longing for something different then where she is in the world is what initially creates an unorthodox side to Offred. The longing for her past is shown when she says, “I want to be valued, in ways that I am not; I want to be more than valuable. I repeat my former name...
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...ffred may be carrying Nick’s child. Nicks final unorthodox act comes when he needs to save Offred. He wants her to go with the eyes, because he knows something she doesn’t. He tells her, “”Its all right. It’s Mayday. Go with them.””(Atwood 293). Nick has been apart of Mayday, a secret organization to overthrow the government. This takes the highest level of unorthodoxy proving just how devoted Nick is to changing the way things are.
Everyone is unorthodox in his or her own way, whether he or she chooses to act on those impulses is their own decision. This novel shows how a society that removes all unorthodoxy leads to an awful dystopian society for the people to live in. This terrible society creates the need for people to be secretly unorthodox. As in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale three of the most unorthodox characters are Offred, Nick, and the Commander.
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