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Handmaid's Tale - Referat

Characterisation of Offred

Offred ist the main character of the novel „The Handmaid’s Tale“ by Margaret Atwood. The novel is written from her point of view. She works as a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, what means that she has to get a child from her Commander for him and his infertile wife. The reader doesn’t get to know her real name yet. She’s called Offred, because she is the Handmaid “of Fred”, her Commander. When she doesn’t become pregnant or when she’s determined infertile, she might be declared an Unwoman might be sent to the Colonies.
If she gets a baby she’ll be sent to a new family. So she’s transferred from household to household.
She’s in the House of the Commander Fred and his wife for five weeks. Offred belongs to the first generation which lives under this conditions, and the place at Fred’s house is her third one.

For Offred it’s difficult to live in such a situation. She mustn’t read or speak with someone. She often feels lonely and think back to her old life.

In the novel is said, that she had a husband, called Luke and a five years old daughter. After a new theocratic regime took over control Offred had to leave her family and was brought to a constitution, where her and other future Handmaid’s where taught the rules under the new government and were prepared for this new life by so-called “Aunts”.
Her mother was a feminist and Offred never really was the same opinion.
Offred doesn’t know what has happened to her family or where they are now.

As a Handmaid Offred always has to wear red. A red clothes, red heelless shoes, red gloves and a red headdress with wings, so that her sight is rather limited.

Although Offred hasn’t any rights she seems to accept her situation, for example she hasn’t suicidal thoughts, like other women; and she has got a certain kind of dark humor and often sees the things of an ironic side.

Nevertheless she’s very frightened to leak out for some unintentional stupid mistakes. On the other hand Offred settle with small things, the only things she even has, like a little notice in her wardrobe or piece of butter. I think she has arranged herself with the situation. She’s a very passive person in contrast to her best friend Moira who all did for escaping from the aunts. Also from her she didn’t heard for a long time.

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