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Margaret Atwood, The Handmaids Tale Analysis on: Chapter XIV Salvaging

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Introduction

Laure Pigeon Gr.11 Margaret Atwood, The Handmaids Tale Analysis on: Chapter XIV Salvaging Margaret Atwood's creation of the dystopian society of Gilead in The Handmaids Tale, is definitely one in which the Government attempts to control every aspect of people's public and private lives. As the plot progresses, Offred - the protagonist and narrator of the novel - dissects how, through numerous methods, this power is exerted on the society. Dystopias are societies where ideology has taken priority over the well-being of the people within that society, and as these dramatic changes implemented by Gilead are non-beneficial for the vast majority of the characters, many of them inevitably rebel. Atwood's formation of Gilead serves as a warning to what could take place in the near future. On the other hand with Atwood's ability to make Offred's character evolve through out the story, the reader is able to witness a very different kind of resistance against the tyrannical regime of Gilead that can be called love. Through out the chapter XIV Salvaging, a new relationship is established and many links between the men that Offred had in her life can be made, which will develop to become predominant thoughts for her survival. ...read more.

Middle

The Commander dismisses Offred's suggestion that the regime has forgotten to provide for love, but he does so without a true understanding of love's power. The regime considers love unimportant, but it is clearly love that ultimately holds the power to destroy the regime. Ironically, it is also a form of love that puts Offred in tremendous danger. When Serena Joy finds the costume Offred wore to Jezebel's, she feels that Offred has betrayed her, despite her understanding of Offred's situation. Earlier in the novel, Offred thinks about how Moira criticized her earlier affair with Luke, even though she wound up marrying him, and wonders what Moira would have thought of her affair with the Commander. Once again, Atwood seems to be pointing to similarities between the world of Gilead and the ordinary world. Did Offred owe anything to Luke's previous wife? Does she owe any kind of allegiance to Serena Joy? Another important theme that reasserts itself in this section of the novel is the power of language. Here, Offred directly addresses the fact that she is "constructing" her story: " I wish this story were different...I wish it were about love, or about sudden realizations important to ones life, or even about sunsets, birds, rainstorms, or snow. ...read more.

Conclusion

In order to reveal Offred's desires more clearly to the reader, Atwood provides us with a scene that sharply contrasts with the intimations of love. One of the worst deaths the novel has to offer is Ofglen's death, because the reader does not have the possibility to realise that she has disappeared: she is replaced by another woman with the same name, and essentially the same appearance. There is no hole standing where she once was. Ofglen is an example of what happens to the woman whose story has not been told. Though she was braver than Offred, and possibly more deserving of our interest, she ceases to exist as soon as she is dead. We do not know her name, so it is as if she did not exist. This chapter is very strong as it is the key to understanding why Offred is telling her story. By opening up to Nick she has found the thrive to silently resist Gilead's regime, using the most powerful weapon: love. But we also understand her need and agonising remorse for telling her story. She has to believe that the end will come so she will be spared and live on. ...read more.

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