The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood has taken a drastic turn in parts IX and X, the most surprising one being Offred’s changed view of the commander. Offred seems to be greatly influenced by Aunt Lydia, which with confidence can be said to not be the best woman to be influenced by. “ Men are sex machines, said Aunt Lydia, and not much more. They only want one thing” (Atwood 144). This quote shows how ignorant some women can be, when they think of men, they see them as one entity who is supposedly biologically programmed all to be the same. Aunt Lydia’s words must be confusing to Offred at times, because she’s known Luke before becoming a Handmaid, and she knows Luke isn’t the same as some of the men around her now. I find this last quote to be ignorant, disgusting and unfair to men. I take it as a personal attack from Aunt Lydia, because by poisoning the minds of the Handmaid’s, she leads them to think that the men in The Handmaid’s Tale are all the same.
One of the things I appreciate about this novel is it’s overwhelming descriptive nature, it is as if the narrator wants us readers to be immersed into the different moments throughout story. “ I crawl into the cupboard, draw up my knees, I’ll choke on it. My ribs hurt with holding back, I shake, I heave, seismic, volcanic, I’ll burst” ( 146 ). This quote describes Offred trying to suppress a laugh, it would be too loud and an inconvenience for her. This quote while being very descriptive gives the reader a deeper more personal perspective on a Handmaid’s restrictive and depressing life.
Further into the story, Offred has surprisingly discovered a whole other side to the commander, she no longer sees him as just another men, which interferes with her attempts to pretend she isn’t present at the ceremony. “ I would steel myself. I would pretend not to be present, not in the flesh” ( 160 ). In this quote, we can see how Offred found a way to endure the previous ceremonies, however further into the story, she won’t be able to use that anymore. “ I found that things were changed. There was an awkwardness now that there hadn’t been before” ( 160 ). “ It was like being on an operating table, in the full glare; like being on a stage” ( 161 ). The preceding quotes are direct abstracts of Offred’s new view toward the commander and the ceremony. These new perspectives must be very confusing and possibly harmful to her continued participation as a Handmaid.
The following picture is from the Hulu series based on the novel The Handmaid’s Tale.