Emotional Decision Making In The Handmaids Tale By Margaret Atwood

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Consider an instance when you were required to make a choice. A time when you understood all the facts and recognized rationally what path you should follow. However, once it came down to making the choice for some odd reason you didn’t use your head at all. Instead, you realized that you had to act on what you felt because somehow that feeling you felt was stronger than the opposing logical choice. We as humans are caught in an internal struggle because our heads lead us one way while our heart leads us in another. When we listen to our hearts we often hurt ourselves because our emotions create a fog over the logic we know. Much like us, when characters are making decisions in literature authors frequently show them ignoring reason and making …show more content…
It is easy to see the power emotions hold over characters in literature. Emotional decision making can lead the character to hurting themselves in a way they may not have experienced if they had followed logic. In the novel The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood the reader is constantly in tune with what the main character Offred is thinking and feeling. Throughout the novel we see Offred making multiple decisions that impact her and those around her. When she makes these emotional decisions she adds to her own oppression. Conforming to the new world of Gilead is the first step she makes in adding to her own oppression. She could have stood up and fought like Moira did, she could have killed herself she could have done anything to face the logic of knowing this new world was wrong. In the Article Discourse and Oppression in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale by Fredrik Pettersson argues that “Although Offred has reached some form of ‘awareness’ of the state of things…she is not strong enough to act on that in any form of resistance” (Pettersson 7). However, she didn’t do that. She knew all along that what was going on is wrong but, she kept all of her negative feelings inside of …show more content…
Offred herself acknowledges how following her feelings may lead her to regret “…how have I come to trust him like this, which is foolhardy in itself? How can I assume I know him…?” (Atwood 270). With her acknowledging this doubt in the situation she still puts how she feels over what she knows. When Offred takes the series of huge risks to continue her affair with Nick she adds to the oppression because she knows that even though the feelings she has feel great she will most likely never be able to fully act on them and she doesn’t even know if Nick is trustworthy. In the article titled The Handmaids Tale and Feminism: Examining characterization in Atwood’s Novel by Sophie Peters a good point about Nick and Offred’s relationship is made. Peters argues that while reading the novel we at no point witness a direct conversation therefore, we really have no insight to how Nick real feels or what his motives are. Peter also points out that Offred goes back and forth on whether she trust Nick or not (Peters 1). The self-doubt and contradictory statements that Offred is constantly making provide more evidence that she is being oppressed

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