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The Handmaid's Tale: Character Development of Offred

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Rachael McCarthy

on 29 May 2014

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Transcript of The Handmaid's Tale: Character Development of Offred

The Development of the Main Character Offred
The Handmaid's Tale
Offred is a dynamic character that develops from a quiet and reserved handmaid into the rebellious protagonist as the story progresses. Atwood uses this character change to demonstrate how curiosity can lead one to push the limits of society and the boundaries of knowledge.

A Dystopian Society
A society that results in dehumanization and oppression of individuals usually involving misery, class division and poverty.
In novels, dystopian societies make some national fears, or possible futures, reality.

Some well known dystopian novels include:
The Runningman, by Richard Bachman
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxely
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Examples of Literature
A Dystopian Society:
The Hanmaid's Tale
The book is set in The Republic of Gilead; a dystopian society located where the United States used to be.
Women have been stripped of their identities almost completely and put into castes.

Fertile women become handmaid's and their sole purpose is to produce. Infertile women were typically assigned to other roles or sent to the colonies.

Sex was deemed as degrading so it is banned, except for means of conception (no pre-marital intercourse).
The Protagonist
The protagonist in
The Handmaid's Tale
is the main character, Offred.

Offred was separated from her daughter and husband in the stages of the changing society. She was then sent to be stripped of her identity and trained as a Handmaid.

Offred now struggles through this new world and to cling on to what little she has left.
The Early Stages
In the beginning of the book, Offred copes with and accepts the oppressive society as well as her new role in it.
"Where I am is not a prison but a privilege, as Aunt Lydia said..."
(Atwood 8)
"What he is fucking is the lower part of my body. I do not say making love, because this is not what he's doing."
(Atwood 94)
But With Oppression Comes Rebellion
As the book progresses, so does her audacity.
The meetings with the Commander
The trip to Jezebel's
The secret meetings with Nick
The Demise
Her audacity eventually leads to the end of Offred which is presented in two ways.

Her curiousity and desire for freedom ultimately ends in her destruction.
Works Cited
Atwood, Margaret.
The Handmaid's Tale
. New York: Random House, 1985. Print.

"Top 12 Dystopian Novels - Listverse." Listverse. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 May 2014. <http://listverse.com/2008/03/12/top-12-dystopian-novels/>.

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