The Power Of Memory In The Handmaids's Tale

1023 Words 4 Pages
The way power is utilized, can change of life discomforting one state of life. In society, many struggle to remember their past and to keep their language alive in order to resist the desire and pressure to forget. Similarly, Offred in, The Handmaids Tale struggles to forget her past no matter how much she efforts to. The fact that Offred is unable to forget her past is further clarified through Offred’s flashbacks, her state of mind causing her to imagine components and revising times of her and Luke’s life together, and her understanding of what she means to the world of Gilead. To begin, Margaret Atwood develops an understanding that the narrator Offred is unable to forget her past through the flashbacks narrated by Offred. Offred is reminded …show more content…
While she was resting one evening, she tries to imagine that Luke is with her. She narrates, “[…] I covered the bed and lay down on it…I wanted to feel Luke lying beside me…I wanted to feel Luke lying beside me, but there wasn’t room” (52). The narrator is unable to do anything about Luke not being around her. Her contemporary conditions only allow her to “imagine” that Luke is with her. It is also seen that while Offred is thinking about Luke she pays close attention to details such as the space on the bed to imagine him. Offred is troubled in forgetting her earlier stages of life because of the loneliness she feels while lying on her bed at Gilead. Furthermore, Offred revises daily life of Luke and herself not allowing her to forget her past and live in the present. She remembers that, “The knock would come at the door; I’d open, with relief, desire. He was so momentary, so condensed. And yet there seemed no end to him. We would lie in those afternoon beds, afterwards, hands on each other…” (51). Although Offred is not willing to remember her past, which in internally disappointing her, she is reminded of daily routines she and Luke would go through while her suffering of being a Handmaid. Thus, Offred is obligated to remember her past due to her loneness and love relationships with Luke enabling her to forget her preexisting …show more content…
Offred compares what she thought she was in the past and what she is now. She states words of value including, “I used to think of my body as an instrument, of pleasure, or a means of transportation, or an implement for the accomplishment of my will . . . Now the flesh arranges itself differently. I’m a cloud, congealed around a central object, the shape of a pear, which is hard and more real than I am and glows red within its translucent wrapping”(84). The environment, in which she is exciting in, helps her develop an idea in her mind that all she is is a cloud around a central object dressed in red. The emotional state of the narrator Offred establishes to a stage where she thinks that in her past she was enjoying and now all she can do is go in the direction the central power pulls her. Additionally, Offred’s mental maturation of her identity makes it dreadful for her to forget her former being. “My name isn 't Offred, I have another name, which nobody uses now because it 's forbidden. I tell myself it doesn 't matter, your name is like your telephone number, useful only to others; but what I tell myself is wrong, it does matter” (37), utters Offred. Offred’s understanding of her identity is like a telephone number in the state of a handmaid, but then she refuses to believe so because she remembers her life in the past. Offred is consistently reminded of what her inner feelings tell

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