The Handmaid’s Tale: Parts III – VIII

After reading the Handmaid’s Tale parts three to eight, in part three: Night, the main character Offred has flashbacks of a time when society wasn’t restricted by rules in which the females are being used for reproduction. She holds the memory of her college days, spending time with her mother and was present when older females were burning dirty magazines. This is the same as Kirsten in Station Eleven and how she holds on to memories of someone special in her life. Offred however seems to be forming some sort of coping mechanism, which we can be found in Chapter 7, page 40, ” I’ll pretend you can hear me. But it’s no good, because I know you can’t”.  It seems that the in her story telling she just hopes for some form of change and the only way for her to keep the dream alive is to live in the past.

But the part off the reading that stands out in this society is the way the women think about each other and how they pressure the new handmaid’s into a form of thinking in which whatever may happen to them, is their own fault. This radical thinking can be pin pointed to a dominate male that is abusive and a control freak that puts all the blame on his partner. In part 5, page seventy-two, we get a glimpse of how society sees gang-rape and abortion in this society. ” Her fault, her fault, her fault, we chant in unison.”, this was directed towards Janine when she tells about her past when she joined the handmaid’s. She bursts in tears when she told the story to all the other females, they called her a crybaby and they meant it. They psychologically changed her afterwards where she begins by saying that it was her fault for leading the men on, and that’s why she was gang-raped. On the same page we see how the other handmaid’s especially Aunt Helena has influenced her and warped her, ” It was my own fault. I led them on. I deserve the pain.”. This is something that shouldn’t be happening and is how the society is able to control these women into adhering to the norm that the society puts up as rules to control them.

We see later that Offred is either having another flashback or daydreaming on page seventy-one in which she says ” I used to think of my body as an instrument, of pleasure, or a means of transportation, or an implement for the accomplishment of my will.” In this quote we see her free will that she had before this society came about and in page seventy-three she goes on to say, “I have failed once again to fulfill the expectations of others, which have become my own.”, giving us the prove we need to understand that she has conformed to the ideology of this new society and is losing her own free will if not has already lost it to her identity as a handmaid.

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