Narrator and point of view

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood has a first-person narrator. The story is told by Offred, the “Handmaid” of the novel’s title. She narrates her experiences in the present tense, while also incorporating a large number of flashbacks told in the past tense. 

The narrator is telling her story as a way of trying to make sense of what is happening to her and as a way of trying to keep some element of control over her life: “If it’s a story I’m telling, then I have control over the ending. Then there will be an ending, to the story, and real life will come after it. I can pick up where I left off.” (Chapter 7, 83%)

She says that she has to tell her story in her head because she has nothing to write with. She also imagines that she is telling her story to an unidentified audience

A story is like a letter. Dear Y...

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