The Handmaid's Tale Narrative Analysis

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The Power of Narrative Narrative is the central element in storytelling. As existence is constructed through the narrating of stories, the ambiguous nature of narrative is a position of real power to interpret history. In Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale, the author demonstrates the power of narrative through Offred’s resistance in a totalitarian regime that seeks to erase her individuality and, the loss of context when her tale is reconstructed by humanity. The author’s use and restriction of narrative in the Republic of Gilead demonstrates the attempt to establish existence through the documentation of stories in a society that limits individuality. In Gilead, it is evident that handmaids’ discourses are silenced by the limitations …show more content…
The restriction of language dehumanizes them of the ability to express and convey their thoughts to others. The limitation to speak, write and express inner thoughts strips them of their individuality. The purpose behind Gilead’s restriction is to create and condition an ideal society by gradually taking control over their body, mind and, soul. As a result, Offred recognizes the importance of defining her existence within the society through the telling, retelling and recreation of experiences: “‘I compose myself. My self is a thing I must now compose, as one composes a speech. What I must present is a made thing, not something born’” (82). As Offred expresses her inner feelings and sensations from her situations to the reader, she creates a self within a society that restricts individuality and communication. Her rebellious use of communication empowers her subjectivity and presence in the society. The act of conveying her thoughts and feelings to the reader demonstrates her resistance towards Gilead’s lifestyle. Moreover, Offred continues to tell her tale in spite of her limited remembrance of her past because she is aware that if she remains silent, she will also remain invisible. She recognizes that the retelling and telling of the past and present is necessary to her survival. Thus, her narrative frame empowers her to escape from the absolutist society she lives …show more content…
The reconstruction of a fragmented document establishes a new context as the scholars order the tapes logically. The scholars strive for a univocal meaning which diminishes the speaker’s personal voice and the meaning behind her story is silenced once again. The scholars’ reconstruction was determined based on their own interpretation of the documents left behind. As a result, the tapes serve as documents and evidence to convey a context that is perceived by the scholars. Pieixoto ends his conference by imposing a question to his audience: “Are there any questions?” (388). His ironic question demonstrates the power of interpretation that is generally granted only to men. Furthermore, he is suggesting that there are different interpretations of the documentary, just as Offred poses alternative versions of events in her lifetime. Thus, Offred’s true motivation remains untold due to the reconstruction and the ambiguous interpretations of her tale. The relationship between Offred’s narrative and the scholars’ reconstruction of her tale brings attention to the power of narrative and how it frames personal interpretations. In The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, the author discloses the prismatic view that narrative holds through Offred’s telling to define her existence and Pieixoto’s

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