Essay on The Handmaids Tale

Submitted By ellie1818
Words: 637
Pages: 3

ISP Reflective Journal
When I first started reading the book, almost immediately I was thrust into an unfamiliar and strange world; using words like “Handmaid” “Angel” and “Commander”. It was a place where women had no rights and only the illusion of freedom. Offred, the main character, gradually gives us more insight on what kind of place she lives in and her past, through flashbacks. She narrates these flashbacks in the past tense, which is different from the main story because it is told in the present tense. When I read that women who lived in The Red Center, (where Handmaid’s live) were only allowed to walk around a football field that had a “chain-link fence topped with barb wire”, I felt nothing but pity for these women. I could never imagine living in a place where I couldn’t go outside or speak whenever I wanted to, but these women were used to it and accepted it. Based on that fact I think that later on in the novel someone from the Red Center will attempt to escape, because they wanted more freedom or wanted a change; whether they succeed or not is a mystery. In our society, women have more freedom and rights; some things we take for granted like being able to choose what to wear, where we want to go, or who we want to speak to. The way that Offred describes the world that she lives in is extremely different from ours. Women were not allowed to vote, read, go to school, or have a proper job in this place because of the way the Government ran things. Men were superior to women and held all the power, which is why women had to listen to their husbands. Offred, who is a Handmaid, was in a whole different category altogether. Handmaids were women whose sole purpose was to reproduce, so that the population can grow.
As I kept reading it is mentioned that “Offred” is not the actual name of the main character, but rather the name the Government has given her. At first glance I never thought that the name was odd, but later I realized that “Offred” was a way of saying “Of Fred” and if the word “Property” was added in front of it, it’d become “Property of Fred”. The Commander’s name was Fred which meant that she was property to him, and she was reminded of this every time she heard her name. When I came to