Personal Discovery of the Protagonist in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale

Personal Discovery of the Protagonist in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale

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In a world where women have no freedom, it is essential to discover one’s self. Margaret Atwood portrays this idea in The Handmaid’s Tale. The protagonist, Offred, is an imprisoned Handmaid in this new world of the Republic of Gilead and has to rediscover her own past for the benefit for finding herself. There are various moments in this book when Offred is reminded of her past. When this happens, it helps herdiscoverer herself a little more. This is hard for her considering the fact that the new government says it is a sin to remember anything from the past life. While being stuck in this harsh new life, Offred struggles to remember her past and find out who she really is.
There are various moments in this book where the personal discovery of the Handmaid, Offred, is displayed. In almost every chapter there is a moment where she recognizes the everyday changes that have happened in her life. Gilead changed the lives of many different people. From having all the freedom one could ever want to having to obey the government’s every order; most people were not happy with this change. Offred was one victim in particular who did not like the new changes. It split her family apart. Her husband Luke was either taken to an unknown place or killed, her daughter was given to a different mother, and she was put to use as a Handmaid. Offred’s life was changed in many detrimental ways. Her job is to now be placed in the home of a Commander and his infertile Wifeand be a “two-legged womb(s), that’s all: sacred vessels, ambulatory chalices” until they give birth to a child (Atwood 136). After they give birth to the child, they are allowed to stay for a short while to nurse the child. They are then moved into the next home of a Commander to rep...


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...es these experiences to remind herself that she is no longer alone. Offred does not have a living friend or companion beside her, but instead the companion is inside her. It is herself who is guiding her in the life she is now living. In the end it is clear to Offred that she is still the same woman as she once was, the changes with the new government did not change her the same way it changed other individuals. A discovery was made, she was no longer Offred the Handmaid; she was June.


Works Cited
Atwood, Mararet. The Handmaid's Tale. New York: Anchor Books, 1986.
Callaway, Alanna A., "Woman disunited ; Margaret Atwood's The handmaid's tale as a critique of feminism" (2008). Master's theses. Paper 3505. http://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/etd_theses/3505
Staels, Hilde. "Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale; Resistance Through Narrating ." English Studies (1995): 455-467.

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