Who is she?

In the novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood starts off describing the environment around a character in first person. This character Offred seems to be in a gymnasium and their seems to be a lot of strange things happening. Like their guards outside packing heat, bearing weapons. The life style of Offred is very strange.

Offred doesn’t have freedom. The environment around Offred seems to be a like a prison. Offred isn’t allowed to leave the around unless she gains permission. The same can said about the heavily arm guards outside who can’t enter the area. We are also introduced two characters as Aunt Sara and Aunt Elizabeth. These two women seem to patrol the inside of the area.  “The guards weren’t allowed inside the building except when called, and we weren’t allowed out, except for our walks, twice daily, two by two around the football field, which was enclosed now by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire” (Atwood 4). Offred explains how the important hierarchy and gender roles are in this society. She doesn’t have the right to leave the area. The Aunts seem to be the enemies inside by the tone Offred describe them. However there is something worse outside the area. If there wasn’t why would guards be needed. Maybe there is something to protect Offred in exchange for her freedom?

Offred seems to be an escort. When I say an escort, I mean like a prostitute. Offred didn’t give this presence at first we learn about her thoughts of seducing the guards outside who couldn’t see her, which is odd. She knows the guards are dangerous but they to be potential pawns to her. “They were objects of fear to us, but of something else as well, If only they would look, If only we could talk to them. Something could be exchanged, we thought, some deal made, some tradeoff, we still had our bodies,” (Atwood 4). This was strange for someone to thing of. She actually of having sex with the guards in exchange for something. Unknown of what her motives are but thoughts of her working as a escort is possible. Then it did became apparent that she is an escort as she describes on what she is going to wear, “The red gloves are lying on the bed. I pick them up, pull them onto my hands, finger by finger. Everything except the wings around my face is red: the color blood, which defines us The skirt is angle-length, full, gathered, to a flat yoke that extends over the breasts, the sleeves are full” (Atwood 8).  She describes her outfit to be provocative. This kind of clothing is meant to attract men who have a sexual interest for her. Offred must live in this life style due to the position she is in. What became of her to live this area working as a escort? However there are times she seems to enjoy it. When she returns from her walk after passing the barricade Offred walks away in a seductive manner. She enjoys  her power to enticing men to make them suffer at night (Atwood 22). Offred show no signs of empathy. She wants to inflict pain. Her personality is dark in a strange way, she doesn’t seem to enjoy being an escort but she like to use her body as weapon to deal long lasting damage to men.

Understanding Offred’s position is she is a slave working or escort working for someone or following the rules of that world’s society. She doesn’t have any freedom and she doesn’t seem to have the right to live normal lives as others in the novel.

2 thoughts on “Who is she?

  1. Daniel

    “They were objects of fear to us, but of something else as well, If only they would look, If only we could talk to them. Something could be exchanged, we thought, some deal made, some tradeoff, we still had our bodies,” (Atwood 4). 

    Perhaps Offred, in her very restricted position, is only considering what powers she has left, what has not been taken away from her…her ability, as a woman, to seduce…not because she wants to, but because she can…it’s a choice (one of few)  that she can still make

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  2. Jill Belli

    It’s interesting that you claim that Offred’s clothes are described as “provocative,” because the quote you provide actually shows how un-provocative they are (“ankle-length,” “full sleeves,” “wings” to hide her face) …

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