One thought on “Week 3 Day 2 Discussion Question 5

  • February 28, 2022 at 2:19 pm

    The Handmaid’s Tale is an autobiographical novel written from the perspective of the main character, Offred. First-person point of view allows Offred to tell her version of the story, which leaves readers at a disadvantage. First, the book is a collection of stories from both the current day and the days before Gilead. These flashbacks morph the past and the present tenses, making for a very blurred line between the two. Additionally, Gilead is a dystopia overflowing with uncertainty and confusion. The Handmaids are only given certain privileges and information, especially when it comes to the religious beliefs of Gilead. For example, The Bible is kept locked up and the Handmaids “can be read to from it, by [the Commander], but [they] cannot read” (Atwood 87). Offred had a feeling that the prayers were made up and that they left out part of the original writings, but there was no way for her to check. She’s clearly not getting the full story, and neither are the readers. I also think Offred is an unreliable narrator given the fact that we don’t know her name. She keeps this information to herself, which prompts readers to wonder what else she’s hiding. Similarly, she is constantly asking questions such as “Do I exist for her?” (Atwood 64) and “It sounds wrong, nothing ever sounds the way you think it will, and I hear the voice…is it a real voice inside my hear or my own voice, out loud? (Atwood 75). This prompts readers to question what she truly knows and what she truly doesn’t. One of the last reasons why I believe that Offred is an unreliable narrator because she reveals just how unaware and untrustworthy she is pretty much off the bat. She wants to believe that she’s telling a story because “if it’s a story I’m telling, then [she has] control over the ending…and real life will come after it” (Atwood 39). Claiming that “real” life will be next suggests the idea that her current life is fake, possibly as fake as her story.

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