Summary Of The Dystopian Novel The Handmaid's Tale

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In Margret Atwood’s dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, a new theocracy style of government has taken over the United States of America. It is now known as the Republic of Gilead, and entails a strictly structured caste system. The newly formed government has only been around for a few years, and the narrator, Offred has been casted as a handmaid. This position requires her to attempt to conceive a baby for the Commander and his wife by having sex with the Commander while she holds his wife’s hand. Offred and many other characters have trouble adjusting to the new customs. Execution is widely practiced as a method of eliminating unorthodox views of individuals. Characters must be careful to not give themselves away to the secret police force …show more content…
Nick does not follow the norm of the societies interactions between members of different castes. Offred is leaving for the store when she spots Nick outside. They meet eyes and “then he winks” (Atwood 18). Upon her return he asks Offred “nice walk?” (Atwood 44). Any interaction between males and females other than wives and husbands is illegal. Offred says with handmaids “it’s forbidden for us to be alone with the Commanders” (Atwood 136). The risk he takes to talk to Offred is extremely parlous. He even goes as far as kissing Offred: “He puts his hand on my arm, pulls me against him, his mouth on mine” (Atwood 98). The most obvious reason that Nick is unorthodox is when the Eye van arrives, and he tells Offred “It’s Mayday. Go with them” (Atwood 293). Nothing is proven specifically, but the most logical explanation would be that he is working as an undercover police member for the Eyes and apart of the secret resistant group known as Mayday. His double undercover work makes it clear that he does not hold traditional views or actions. His love affair with Offred also indicates rebellion, thus making him insurgent in …show more content…
She has struggled with the new government a great deal. In the beginning, her rebellion is picked up subtle ways such as hording butter in her room or stealing a flower from the house den. Throughout the reading, it becomes clear that thinking about the past is forbidden. Since Offred’s job as a handmaid does not involve a huge time commitment, she has plenty of free time. She often thinks about her former life with her mother, friend Moira, husband Luke and daughter. Offred feels that “the night is my time out” (Atwood). She is allowed to relive sections of her life, which is completely forbidden in Gilead. When she was forced to go to re-education centers to learn how handmaids must behave, it was drilled in her brains that she must erase the past and be happy in the present state. She rebels by thinking about the past, which soothes her yet causes her to become distressed at the same time. The narrator wants to remember the past, but it also pains her that she has been torn away from her loved ones. Offred’s love affairs with the Commander and Nick make it clear that she is not only thinking unorthodoxly, but she is also acting boldly unorthodox. The taboo secret meetings with the Commander are emotionless and forced because of the fear he could have her sent to the Colonies to work until death at any moment. The narrator’s relationship with Nick

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