A journey is imperative for personal growth and development. In Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ it outlines the inner journey Offred undertakes throughout her life in Gilead and her journey to survive in a repressive totalitarian regime. This journey is also evident in Martin Luther King’s speech ‘I Have a Dream’ and the Negro’s struggle for freedom. Examining these two texts I have come to appreciate and understand the concept of journeys.
In order for Offred’s journey to progress and grow, Atwood has used memories and flashbacks to sustain Offred’s sanity. As Atwood gives the readers short and irregular flashbacks from past and present we, as readers, begin to sense Offred’s life before Gilead took over. The memories are significant in Offred’s transition from passive to more dynamic and aware. We can monitor Offred’s evolution through the flashbacks and her developing understanding of her inner self and her situation. “Will I ever be in a hotel room again? How I wasted those rooms, that freedom from being seen” As time moves on, Offred recognizes the things she took for granted and begins to appreciate more and more little things in her life before Gilead. Although the memories and flashbacks help to sustain Offred mentally, at times they make it difficult for her to survive the present. They remind Offred of the emptiness of her existence now and the lack of freedom her life now has. We see Offred’s progression through her memories as she looks back and sees her passive nature, her naivety and her lack of gratitude. The memories and flashbacks have contributed largely to Offred’s inner journey and have constructed her way of thinking.
While embarking on a journey can be confronting, it can also be a profound experience in learning the truth. The characters in the novel help Offred to embark on her inner journey and allow her to feel a sense of freedom but also at the same time a sense of rebellion. Atwood uses contrasting...
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