Essay on the Character of Offred in The Handmaid's Tale

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The Character of Offred in The Handmaid's Tale        

Offred is one of the main characters in The Handmaid's Tale. She was the faithful wife of Luke, mother of an eleven month old child and a working woman, before she entered the Republic of Gilead. She was given the name "Offred", when she entered Gilead. This was to make it known that she was a handmaid. Offred becomes psychologically programmed in Gilead as a handmaid, and the mistress of the commander who is in power of all things. She was used for her ovaries to reproduce a child, because they are living in an age where birth rates are declining. Offred was ordered by Serena Joy, the handmaid's barren wife who develops some jealousy
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Offred only remembered Luke and her child when she would think about them in private, or when she talked about them. "Luke and I used to walk together, sometimes along the streets. We used to talk about buying a house like one of these, an old big house, fixing it up. We would have children" (p.32). Offred lost another part of her experience on what it what to be loved and feel loved by her child along with Luke. "She was sitting in the little baby seats they had in supermarket carts, with holes for the legs. She was happy enough, and I'd turned my back, the cat food section I think it was.... I heard her start to cry. I turned around and she was disappearing down the aisle, in the arms of a woman I'd never seen before" (p.83) Her eleven month old child was kidnapped in the supermarket. I could only imagine how that left her feeling very empty inside. Thoughts such as these whether they were happy ones or sad, they allowed Offred to visit her past and allowed her to be who she was.

There are many ways that we see Serena Joy envies Offred. Several times during the ceremony, Offred hears the crying of Serena Joy. "Serena has begun to cry. I can hear her behind my back. It isn't the first time. She always does this, the night of the ceremony" (p.116). This is only one of the various ways to show Serena's envy towards Offred. But Offred does not seem to care about the feelings of the commanders wife. "I feel as always, the urge to laugh, but

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