Ray of Hope

The final chapters of Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale was a page turner, with unexpected twists at every corner. I was left with mixed feelings about this ending of the tale. On one hand I obviously was frustrated due to the cliff hanger at the end of the novel, but on the other I couldn’t believe that she had the opportunity to be free. Her possible freedom was an event I was anticipating for the entire novel, and I was stunned when the author abruptly ending the novel on a open note. At least it wasn’t as disappointing as the end of the ‘Sopranos’, when it ended mid scene.

What was most strange to me was the appearance of the “new” Ofglen, “And of course she is, the new one, and Ofglen, wherever she is, is no longer Ofglen” (283). She soon told Offred what had really happened to Ofglen, ” She hanged herself,” she says. “After the Salvaging. She saw the van coming for her. It was better” (285). This all seems so strange and a little doubtful that Ofglen just hung herself. I think that she might be alive, because new Ofglen can have easily been lied to. On the other hand, Ofglen could have possibly have planned an escape along with Nick. There is so much that could have happened, maybe this is exactly what the author wanted, to have us guessing what really happened to the protagonist. The last couple of pages in the novel are the ‘Historical Notes’ where the author makes the reader wonder about these stories, because according to notes 30 tapes are discovered. They could be real stories or they could be false, but it is very extraordinary that something like this could have been real, mostly during the Gilead era.

I was so excited for Offred, though it was unclear of her future, she finally had some light of hope. Here last words in the novel were, “Whether this is my end or a new beginning I have no way of knowing: I have given myself over into the hands of strangers, because it can’t be helped” (295). Finally, she was risking everything for her daughter, her husband, her past life, because she was no longer the wimp that Moira always called her, but then again it’s not like she planned or decided this on her own, she was forced and ordered. Yet does it matter how this happened as long as there is a chance to escape such misery. I really appreciated how the author developed Offred towards the final pages, it is notable that Offred said, “I’m tired of this melodrama, I’m tired of keeping silent. There’s no one you can protect, your life has value to no one. I want it finished.” (293). Yes, finally Offred has evolved from somebody that was constantly treated like a, “two-legged wombs”, now she has a chance. The author doesn’t end the novel on a comforting, he makes the ending more realistic, I don’t know what will happen to the characters, all I can do is hope like Offred that everything will end on a happy note.  

 

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