Human Interaction In The Handmaids Tale

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We all know the story of Pinocchio: the wooden puppet who becomes a boy. However, what parts of Pinocchio make him “human” and which parts held him back? Similarly, we find Offred in the beginning of the book as a puppet of the state and carved into their ideal version of a woman. Offred’s story in the book The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margret Atwood, is a story of survival in a harsh world where women are subjugated to the rules and standards of the government in Gilead. With no real identity to call her own, Offred is forced to navigate through her new life without expressing her emotions and connecting with people. I believe that it was the presence of human touch and interaction with other people that gave Offred the ability to keep herself …show more content…
Seeing as most forms of “interaction” are forbidden to the handmaids, it was Offred’s secret meetings, which begin to act as her small form of rebellion against the system, have the most profound impact on her. An example of this would be her private communication with the Commander. While she is with him, Offred relearns how to think for herself, bringing back aspects of her old self. When the Commander criticizes the way things used to be before Gilead, Offred brings up the idea of love as something that was over looked: “Falling in love. [...] It was the central thing; it was the way you understood yourself; if it never happened to you, not ever, you would be like a mutant, a creature from outer space. Everyone knew that.” (Atwood, 281) Offred begins to pull away and cut the strings that connect her to Gilead. She was no longer the puppet meant to play the part that government intended her to, as her conversations brought back her individuality. Through her interactions come the connections that lead Offred into a better understanding of the world around her and herself as a …show more content…
I don’t want pain. I don’t want to be a dancer, my feet in the air, my head a faceless oblong of white cloth. I don’t want to be a wingless angel. I want to keep on living, in any form. I resign my body freely, to the uses of others. They can do what they like with me. I am abject. I feel, for the first time, their true power.” (Atwood, 357)
This is one of Offred’s final epiphanies in which she realizes herself how far she has come from where she began. A part of her humanity is her adamant need to stay alive and this is expressed through her words; in the end after having countless suicidal thoughts, this is part of herself that has finally returned to her. Like Pinocchio’s “I want to be a boy” declaration, Offred’s need to stay alive is her defining moment of regaining or assuming her humanity. This was the last string that was holding her back from self-recognition of herself as a separate human being from the

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