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Loneliness in Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale

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Sarah Currie

on 3 October 2013

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Transcript of Loneliness in Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale

Loneliness in Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale
Loneliness in Relation to the Commander and Offred's relationship
Introduction
Loneliness does not only come from the absence of people, but from several internal and external factors as well.
"She wouldn't understand. Anyway; she won't talk to me much anymore. We don't seem to have much in common, these days."
Page 158, Chapter 25
"But even so, and stupidly enough, I'm happier than I was before. It's something to do, for one thing. Something to fill the time, at night, instead of sitting alone in my room."
Page 163, Chapter 27
"I went back to Nick. Time after time, on my own, without Serena knowing. It wasn't called for, there was not excuse. I did not do it for him, but myself entirely."
Page 268, Chapter 41
Offred's Loneliness in Relation to the Passage of Time
"I want her back. I want everything back, the way it was. But there is no point to it, this wanting."
Page 122, Chapter 20
"By telling you anything at all I'm at least believing in you, I believe you're there, I believe you into being. Because I'm telling you this story I will your existence. I tell, therefore you are."
Page 268, Chapter 41
"We yearned for the future. How did we learn it, that talent for insatiability?"
Page 3-4, Chapter 1
"Being here with him is safety; it's a cave, where we huddle together while the storm goes on outside. This is a delusion, of course."
Page 269, Chapter 41
Offred's inability to trust others and
form personal relationships is paramount in her feelings of loneliness
Her fault, her fault, [they] chant in unison” (Ch. 13, pg 72).
“ Perhaps it was a test, to see what I would do. Perhaps he is an Eye” (Ch. 4, pg 18)
The book of Psalms (118:8) says that “ It is better to take refuge in the LORD Than to trust in man.”
“ I want to reach up, taste his skin, he makes me hungry... It's so good to be touched by someone, to be felt so greedily, to feel so greedy. Luke, you'd know, you'd understand. It's you here, in another body” ( Ch 17 pg 99)
“Cora has begun to cry. I was her hope, I've failed her. Now she will always be childless” (Ch. 46, pg. 295).
Loneliness is a prevalent theme in the novel, “The Handmaid’s Tale”.
In Conclusion

Through the words of Mother Theresa, “loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.”


Similarly, the Irish poet Brendan Francis believed that, “At the innermost core of all loneliness is a deep and powerful yearning for union with one’s lost self.”
Full transcript