The Handmaids Tale Essay
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This book is a depiction of an anti-utopian future society, along with others like ‘1984’ and ‘Brave New World’. It combines a futuristic reality, feminism and politics to create a very detailed novel considering many different aspects of ‘Gilead’. ‘Offred’ is the complex lead character who draws us into the seemingly perfect but corrupt world of Gilead. Her pain is experienced by the readers who long to remember exactly what she has forgotten, and what she wants to find out. The experiences she goes through are strange, sometimes outright bizarre, and her world comes crashing down on us.
‘The Handmaids Tale’ is very thought-provoking, the future of women and indeed the world lies in the actions of today’s society, and Atwood uses her perceptions of the present world to support the background of her novel. Altogether ‘The Handmaids Tale offers what all novels should: love, loss, action, comedy (ironic, but appropriate) vision, and plot. It plays with all emotions. Time In The handmaids tale (THT) the use of time is a key feature.
Frequently throughout the book we experience time changes, from the present oppressive situation, and to the past of the handmaids, a happier time. In the gymnasium, time is used in reference.
The narrator refers to a time gone, where the gymnasium was used for things other than sleeping. “Dances would have been held there” “there was old sex in the room”. There is reminiscence of the narrator; they call upon personal observations and experiences from the time gone by “I remember that yearning”. Later in the first chapter it becomes clear that the narrator, experienced the “handmaids” experience when she remembers how things were for her, when she slept in the army cots in the gymnasium “as we tried to sleep in the army cots” she uses words such as we had, then, were which all indicate its past tense.
This usage of time goes on in the novel and is a way in which the writer can convey the feeling that the current situation has not always been that way, and that once this oppression didn’t exist. As you read the opening chapter, the tone of the text comes across as sad, as reminiscent, as a longing for the times gone by, and a desire to return there. From reading the text, it becomes clear to me that this phantom narrator learned from her experience that she presumably had in Gilead, she learned the talent to be insatiable; she obviously didn’t have it when she arrived “how did we learn it, that talent for insatiability?
” The narrator of the text is left as something of a mystery to the reader. A name is never mentioned, but the text reads as if it’s somebody who is thinking back on their personal experience. This is somebody who has been there, experienced the oppression, had a yearning, this tells me that its being told by somebody who once was a Handmaid, I am sure they were a handmaid as they were being watched by Aunts and sleeping en mass in Gilead. If this person was a handmaid then surely they were a woman, I also think this because the language is quite emotional and emotive “we yearned for the future”.