The Life Of The Handmaid Offred English Literature Essay

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I came up with the idea to write a diary abstract about the life of the Handmaid Offred, because she is the protagonist in the novel. The story in the novel is written in the first person in which the expressions and feelings of Offred are clearly shown. She tells the story in immediate present tense but often shifts to past tense for flashback to life before Gilead.

A diary is normally intended to remain private, but this one is actually written to be read someday. In this case by Luke. I've intentionally chosen not to mention Luke's name, but instead Offred is writing to 'You'. In the novel she mentions that attaching a name attaches you to the world of fact, which is riskier, more hazardous. 'You' could be anybody, but by bringing back specific memories in the diary it can be concluded that this diary is written to Luke.

The story Offred has written starts with a dream she had about her daughter. Unlike the Angels of the Republic of Gilead, she describes her daughter as a real angel. When she realises she's awake and it was just a dream, she starts to think about her life as a Handmaid and her life before the formation of the Republic of Gilead. She's telling that she desperately wants Luke back in her life, which also refers to the pre-Gilead times she wants back. She's struggling over whether she should give him up for dead or keep up the hope of finding him alive. Things were ordinary when she was with Luke, although, she didn't realise how lucky she was, and now she's regretting that. Offred doesn't know any more than she should. There are some things she must not be told. "What you don't know won't hurt you", is all Rita, one of the Marthas, would say.

The novel's tone is dark. Since all the characters live under a ruthless, totalitarian regime, a sense of paranoia and fear also appears in the novel. I've tried to use this tone throughout the diary abstract as well.

13 May

Dear You,

Last night, I had a dream. I was home, my home. Wearing her green nightgown with the sunflower on the front, she was running towards me. I picked her up. The touch of her skin, her arms and legs around me and the smile in her eyes, she was like a bit of stardust, blown by the hand of God. A real angel. But I'm awake. Wide awake and well aware of the fact that we, women, are considered intellectually and emotionally inferior, nothing more than a flesh surrounding a womb. This is what we are made for, proven at the Ceremony. I believe he's doing his duty, the Commander, because it had nothing to do with making love, romance, passion, or love. Although we were both, together with the Commander's Wive, in the same room, on the same bed, none of us was really involved in what was going on in the room. At least, I wasn't. Just serious business, unbearable and hilarious at the same time, this whole procedure, but maybe that is because I'm trying to make the best of it. However, I think I feel kind of sorry for her, the Commander's Wive, at least, I'm wondering for which of us it is worse. It's pathetic that this is my faith. My biggest fear should be having an Unbaby, becoming an Unwoman and ending up in the Colonies or worse. But instead I'm fearing not being touched by you ever again. Passion is banned, love is outdated, romance is illegal, sexual desire is forbidden. I feel so lonely, I could die. Do you know how it feels? Wanting to be with somebody you can't be with? It's almost unbearable. It's like trying to touch a star, which seems to be so close and yet so far away, and although I know I can never reach it, I can't help but try. I want to love somebody, who isn't there. Do you feel the same? I want to be valued, I want to be held. I want to feel you. Where are you? Do you remember me? Do you remember my name? I still believe. When deceased, I pray that there would have been only the one flash of darkness and the lights would have dimmed quietly but quick, unconsciously but peaceful. Are the remains fading somewhere under the sod? I will remember you. When imprisoned, then God and who knows what they have put you in, but I'll find out. I'll find out and I'll find you. I don't know in what circumstances I will find you or what I can come across. Will I find you wandering around in the stench of urine and sweat? Dry skin, roughened and scarred by cuts. Dark, pouched, dull and bloodshot eyes. The furrows in your forehead accompany your gaunt face with rising cheekbones. Will I recognise you? When escaped, and you have found your way out of Gilead through a resistance movement, I thank God. I still fear the day when I see your body hanging on the Wall and I'm still relieved when none of them is you. I still have hope. Get me out of here. Find me. I'm waiting for your answer. In the end, we will be all three of us together. Whatever the truth is, I believe I will be ready for it. Do you hope? I'm sitting in this room, not my room, but still mine. The unevenness of the plaster under the wallpaper, the stains on the mattress, the shatterproof windows, the bare plastered ceiling without chandeliers, it tells its own story. The stains, not recent, are evidence left by two people. Evidence for two people who loved each other or something like that. Stains of desire and touch between two people. This room is nothing like the hotel room. The room where we would lie next to each other, surrounded by awful paintings. The room I wasted, just like my freedom. I was careless, but concerned. But the problems I thought I had, are nothing like these I have now. I was truly happy. I know why there are no chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and why the windows are shatterproof. I mean the world to them, and at the same time I'm a nobody. Sometimes I want to shatter the glass in the windows. I feel like glass, shattered glass. Fragile and broken. Writing is forbidden, but I have to share this with you. If this would be a story that I'm telling, then I would know how this story would end. But I don't know what 'things' are happening at the moment, and I don't know what will happen in the future. They say we are the future. All I know is that I believe. I believe in you. I miss you.

Raksha Kishna