In her novel The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood addresses the concept of different expression of romantic love through the eyes of Offred, a woman who has lost almost all her freedom to a repressive, dystopic society. Throughout her struggle against oppression and guilt, Offred's view evolves, and it is through this process that Atwood demonstrates the nature of love as it develops under the most austere of circumstances.
The first glimses of romantic love one notes in this novel are the slivers of Offred's memeories of Luke, her husband from whom she has been separated. For the most part they are sense memories--she recalls most of all images of comfort: of lying in her husband's arms, of his scent, and of little details of his appearance--but also a sense of connectedness that gives her identity. And it is this that she misses the most. "I want Luke here so badly. I want to be held and told my name. I want to be valued, in ways that I am not; I want to be more than valuable" (125-126). And yet already the person as a whole is beginning to slip away. The life she is leading now is driving him from her reality--she says, "Day by day, night by night he recedes, and I become more faithless" (346). Her love for her husband is marked with guilt and regret even in the beginning--she misses all the little characteristics about him that she never took time to appreciate when she was with him. She even misses the arguments, and wonders, "How were we to know we were happy?" (67). The memory of her love for Luke, and her guilt at betraying him with other men, especially Nick, for whom she develops genuine affection, is a significant psychological factor throughout the course...
... middle of paper ...
...ing previous relationships. It is perhaps what can be seen as the one spark left of a healthy bond between man and woman in the midst of a society that seems to have forgotten there could be such a thing. They alone among the victims of this dystopic society have learned the truth that "we must love one another or die."
The student may wish to begin the essay with the quote below:
"All I have is a voice / To undo the folded lie / The romantic lie in the brain / Of the sensual man-in-the street / And the lie of Authority / Whose buildings grope the sky / There is no such thing as State / And no one exists alone / Hunger allows no choice / To the citizen or the police / We must love one another or die." --W.H. Auden,"September 1939"
Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid's Tale. New York: Ballantine, Fawcett Crest, 1987.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale Love of God replaces love of humanity in Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale. Offred’s recollections of her past life, especially of her husband, are ones filled with passion and happiness as she remembers his tenderness towards her. Much more emphasis is put on the physical human form in her memories; she often remembers lying with her husband while she wears little or no clothing. Appreciation of the human form is an essential component of loving humanity.... [tags: Margaret Atwood Handmaid Tale Essays]
1418 words (4.1 pages)
- 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.... [tags: The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood]
1751 words (5 pages)
- “[W]e are not slaves in name, and cannot be carried to market and sold as somebody else 's legal chattels, we are free only within narrow limits. For all our talk about liberation and personal autonomy, there are few choices that we are free to make” (Berry). In The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood the protagonist Offred lives through a changing of society, in which is described by Aunt Lydia in the new society as the difference of freedom to and freedom from. The complexities of freedom are examined through social norms, relationships, and safety in society.... [tags: The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood]
1344 words (3.8 pages)
- Every human being needs certain rights to survive. There are the fundamental ones; food, water, air, shelter, but there are also other ones that are equally important to survive: love, communication, compassion, freedom. In many dystopian societies one of these fundamental needs are missing because the society is afraid that they will break the control that they have over the people. In the novel The Handmaid’s tale by Margaret Atwood the society is no different. Narrated by a woman named Offred who once was happy who had a family and a job, she shows the reader that to keep people quiet the society takes away people 's freedom, their ability to choose, their ability to be with and talk to... [tags: The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood]
1344 words (3.8 pages)
- The story The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood illustrates a different type of dystopia from most other classic dystopian novel. It creates a world where women are used either for sexual reproduction or as a way to control other women who will be used for the same purpose. Attwood tells the story of America after the Gilead regime has taken over and sets things “in order” following a long period of anarchy which is referred to as the “time before” (Atwood, 5). The Gilead regime has taken control of the direr straights that the country has entered with reference to the birth rate.... [tags: The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood]
1442 words (4.1 pages)
- A Warning: To Not Be A Robotic World Humanity is defined by love, emotions, and sex. The society in The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood really restricts women from the act of sex for pleasure/emotional connection. The society in Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro restricts intimacy, and while sex is allowed, it is frowned upon. The governments in The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro both take advantage of women’s bodies and communicate negative feelings about sex.... [tags: The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood]
1245 words (3.6 pages)
- Ryan Lee 11-21-14 AP Literature Period 7 The Handmaids Tale Essay Whether women are equal to men or not this is an ongoing topic that brings to light many different opinions. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, is a fictional yet plausible story that Atwood uses to warn us of the possibility of our society changing into her dystopian fantasy. To convey her argument, Atwood uses the point of view of a women named Offred to demonstrate the morals and struggles of women in this male-dominated society known as Gilead.... [tags: The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood]
1062 words (3 pages)
- In today’s society, a ‘conventional’ relationship between a man and a woman is easily defined. It is one based on freedom of choice by both partners, equality of gender, and emotional attachment. It is acceptable to say that in Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, none of these are permitted. This book shows a society completely unlike our own, one that has been constructed on the Old Testament, where women are seen as ‘biological vessels’ and are obsequious to men, and there is no place for ‘romantic love’.... [tags: Margaret Atwood]
1566 words (4.5 pages)
- I Tell, Therefore I Am In Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale, women are subjected to unthinkable oppression. Practically every aspect of their life is controlled, and they are taught to believe that their only purpose is to bear children for their commander. These “handmaids” are not allowed to read, write or speak freely. Any type of expression would be dangerous to the order of the Gilead’s strict society. They are conditioned to believe that they are safer in this new society. Women are supposedly no longer exploited or disrespected (pornography, rape, etc.) as they once were.... [tags: Margaret Atwood The Handmaid's Tale]
878 words (2.5 pages)
- Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale Chapter nine opening section two of the novel is mainly recalling the last chapters and about the narrator rediscovering herself, surfacing the truth. In section one we see the narrator talking in the present tense in a very descriptive form, outlining the novel. However in section two we see her talking in the past tense demonstrating the stories she is telling. The separation between the human and the natural world and the narrator’s struggle with language most directly portrays the novel's dualities.... [tags: Margaret Atwood Handmaid's Tale Essays]
1712 words (4.9 pages)
- A Comparison of the Supernatural in Tempest, Julius Caesar, and Midsummer Night's Dream
- Comparing Aime Cesaire's A Tempest and Shakespeare's The Tempest
- Essay on the Victorian View of Dover Beach
- Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms as an Anti-War Novel
- The Self and Society in Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
- Dichotomy of Colors in Poe's The Masque (Mask) of the Red Death