In: Novels

Submitted By smallpurdie
Words 1215
Pages 5
Charmaine Holliway
Professor McRae
English 1102
March 10, 2012
Escaping Gilead

In Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale, women are subjected to unimaginable oppression. Almost every aspect of their lives is controlled; they are not allowed to read, write, or even speak freely. Any type of expression would be dangerous to the order of the Gilead’s strict society, but the handmaids are conditioned to believe that they are safer and better off living there. However, not everyone is convinced that the Gileadean society is how it portrays itself to be. Through storytelling, past memories, and rebellion, the handmaid Offred is able to escape the reality of Gilead and cease to completely submit to its repressive culture.
Rebellion is a way for Offred to access freedom. Handmaids speaking freely are not tolerated in Gilead, so to find a way to secretly speak is Offred’s way of escape: “We learned to whisper almost without sound. In the semidarkness we would stretch out our arms, when the Aunts weren’t looking, and touch each other’s hands across space. We learned to lip-read, our heads flat on the beds, turned sideways, watching each other’s mouths”(Atwood 4). Each unfiltered word is a source of freedom. To be able to converse freely keeps alive the nature of relationships between people like life before Gilead. Conversation brings release and the comfort of knowing that everything she does is not controlled. These small rebellions that Offred participates in are very significant. The fact that she chooses to engage in even a simple act as secret conversation conveys that she still clings onto her more just and free past and that she is able to find freedom within bondage.
Another way Offred finds freedom through rebellion is from her secret relationship with a guard called Nick. She takes chances at night, sneaking into his room, knocking on his door softly,…...

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