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

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 and envy towards her to become the lover of Nick. Nick is the family chauffeur, and Offred becomes deeply in love with him. At the end of all the confusion, mixed emotions, jealousy, envy and chaos towards her, she escapes the Republic of Gilead. Offred is given treatment and advantages by the commander that none of the there handmaids are given. During the times the commander and Offred were seeing each other secretly, he began to develop some feelings for her that he tried to hide. Somewhere along the times when Offred and the commander began having secret meetings with each other, Offred too began to develop some feelings for the commander. Offred is also a special handmaid, because she has actually experienced love, the satisfaction of having a child years before. She knows what it is to feel loved, to be in love and to have someone love you. That is all when she has knowledge, a job, a family and money of her own. That is when her life was complete. Because all of that has been taken away from…

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…adn’t noticed…..” (p. 209). Touching was forbidden during the ceremony and showed a sign of emotion and enjoyment, in which he was not supposed to do at all. He had just been caught up in the moment and almost forgot about Serena Joy, his poor barren wife.

Offred had been though many mixed feelings throughout this entire book. She has been able to feel, experience and thinks thoughts that she had not ever imagined that she would have. Offred can not escape the fact that in spite of the treatment from Serena Joy and the commander, that they both will have if not already have an impact on her life. Not to mention Nick also. Nick gave her the comfort and the security that she wanted, and at the end nothing done to her by the commander or his wife mattered to her. Living in the Republic of Gilead will always be a memory that she will probably try to forget.

lighthod Human Soul Exposed in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

The Human Soul Exposed in The Heart of Darkness

In Joseph Conrad’s novel, The Heart of Darkness, Charlie Marlow narrates the story of his journey into the dark continent, Africa. Through his experiences he learns a lot about himself and about the nature of mankind. He discovers that all humans have the capability within themselves to do good or evil. Outside circumstances substantially influence which path a human will take. Marlow travels not only through the darkness of Africa, but also through the darkness of the human soul.

England sent missionaries to help civilize the natives of Africa. To Marlow, this is the purpose of colonization. During his journey he comes to see how the Africans are exploited for their labor and the natural resources of the land. “They were dying slowly . . . nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation. . . brought from all the recesses of the coast in all the legality of time contracts, lost in uncongenial surroundings, fed on unfamiliar food, they sickened, became inefficient, and were then allowed to crawl away and rest.” (p.83). As the quote implies, after the natives served their purpose they were just ignored. What started out to be a good cause became distorted by the greed for ivory and other riches. The natives were weak and no competition for the civilized economically motivated Englishmen. There was no resistance. “They were conquerors, and for that you want only brute force – nothing to boast of, when you have it, since your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others. They grabbed what they could get for the sake of what was to be got.” (p.70). Instead of being colonizers, the circumstances allowed the British to become conquerors.

In the same way that England’s motives changed, so does the motives of many of the individuals who enter the dark continent. Kurtz starts out being the best agent the Ivory Company sends to Africa. He comes there with good intentions, not only to do his job for the company, but also he wants to help the natives. As Kurtz himself states, “Each station should be like a beacon on the road towards better things, a centre for trade of course, but also for humanizing, improving, instructing.” (p.104). Obsessed with meeting Kurtz, Marlow finally realizes the man he is seeking has become evil and is exploiting the same people that he initially wanted to help.

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