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Old 12-29-2016, 04:23 PM   #16
issybird
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On Nyssa and issybird's points on Offred, heroism and survival: I don't know that we can evaluate their choices fairly. It is also my own instinct to think that the women could have done more. I mean, they could remember freedom. This was not generations after a significant change. The women could remember a different life. How could they not do more to reclaim their freedom? But I also think that that is Atwood's point. We have many examples in history of a social group "submitting" to a worsening of their own oppression. I think the reality is that fear and the desire to survive conspire to make resistance seem hopeless or too frightening, combined with the very real threats of violence. The handmaidens saw what was done to those who resisted.
I understand why the story centered on Offred; she was everywoman. Most of us are not the stuff of heroes, much less martyrs. Just the same, she irritated me. She was self-absorbed and made stupid choices and I rather resented that the mechanics of the resistance were put into play to save her, of all people. But that was a visceral response and attests to the effectiveness of Atwood's choice. Overall, there are too many hero stories, especially in dystopias, where it seems as if it takes only one person to being down an entire system. But there are many more Offreds than Katnisses and perhaps that's why I disliked Offred; it's the acknowledgment that I'm an Offred.
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Old 12-29-2016, 05:18 PM   #17
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I understand why the story centered on Offred; she was everywoman. Most of us are not the stuff of heroes, much less martyrs. Just the same, she irritated me. She was self-absorbed and made stupid choices and I rather resented that the mechanics of the resistance were put into play to save her, of all people. But that was a visceral response and attests to the effectiveness of Atwood's choice. Overall, there are too many hero stories, especially in dystopias, where it seems as if it takes only one person to being down an entire system. But there are many more Offreds than Katnisses and perhaps that's why I disliked Offred; it's the acknowledgment that I'm an Offred.
Well said!
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Old 12-29-2016, 05:23 PM   #18
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I understand why the story centered on Offred; she was everywoman. Most of us are not the stuff of heroes, much less martyrs. Just the same, she irritated me. She was self-absorbed and made stupid choices and I rather resented that the mechanics of the resistance were put into play to save her, of all people. But that was a visceral response and attests to the effectiveness of Atwood's choice. Overall, there are too many hero stories, especially in dystopias, where it seems as if it takes only one person to being down an entire system. But there are many more Offreds than Katnisses and perhaps that's why I disliked Offred; it's the acknowledgment that I'm an Offred.
That's an interesting perspective. My identification with Offred is why I feel sympathy for her. I like to think that I would be more proactive in defending myself, but I think I am just as likely to submit and finally adjust to my own dismal circumstances when there is an entire society built around my subjugation. I think maybe when you are surrounded by people who are not resisting, it's easier to give in, as opposed to a situation in which one person is trying to harm you. Offred was immersed in a system where others did not resist their own oppression, and I think that probably makes it that much harder. It is also the most frustrating aspect of the book, however, as I found Offred's passivity annoying but also understandable (and frightening).
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Old 12-30-2016, 11:16 AM   #19
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We all admire dissenters, at least those who voice our own dissent, but in a totalitarian society there are no dissenters. There are only the passive and the dead.
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Old 12-30-2016, 11:45 AM   #20
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We all admire dissenters, at least those who voice our own dissent, but in a totalitarian society there are no dissenters. There are only the passive and the dead.
And yet the epilogue says there's a morning after, which is why I disliked it. I'd have preferred for Atwood to have left it an open question. She pulled her punch on that.
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Old 12-30-2016, 12:57 PM   #21
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We all admire dissenters, at least those who voice our own dissent, but in a totalitarian society there are no dissenters. There are only the passive and the dead.
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And yet the epilogue says there's a morning after, which is why I disliked it. I'd have preferred for Atwood to have left it an open question. She pulled her punch on that.
I have to agree with both of you.

My frustration with the epilogue is that it seemed all for nothing.
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