The Handmaid's Tale
The Handmaid's Tale
by Margaret Atwood
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Protagonist

Character Role Analysis

The Narrator (Offred)

The narrator is classic protagonist. It's hard not to root for someone ripped apart from her family, rounded up into a reeducation camp, and forced to move into a strange home, wear a bizarre uniform, and serve as a kind of creepy pregnancy toy. You've got to empathize with someone in that position, and hope that she manages to escape from this nightmarish life. When the book starts, the narrator seems like a shell. Memories and flashbacks are all she's got; she's not even allowed to read. At first we pity her, then, as she shares more and more about her life in Gilead, we become increasingly freaked out. Even if the narrator weren't a likeable character – and maybe not everyone finds her so – she deserves to persevere over her many obstacles and have a triumphant happy ending. The question is whether she gets that ending or not.


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