College Papers

How to find who is and isn’t trustworthy.

How does the action of trust change for Offred throughout the book? In “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood, Offred (The main character) has to determine who to trust in Gilead. There are many eyes in her community so it’s an impossible task to find who is and isn’t trustworthy. Many of the handmaids are “true believers” and follow all the rules and snitch on anyone who doesn’t. In this essay I will be explaining the different relationships Offred acquires and how trust will fluctuate between them.In the book the Commander summons Offred through Nick (a guardian), to meet with him at night. When Offred agrees to meet with the Commander alone (a forbidden task), she is blindly trusting this man. She doesn’t know if this is a test or a trap but she still dives into the situation with barely any warning. Luckily for Offred he only wanted to play scrabble and have someone to talk too. ¬†Going back to the thesis, once where there was no trust with the Commander, she now has a mutual trusting relationship with him. Another way that Offred is trusting the Commander is by not getting her caught. The penalty for what they’re doing is death. And Offred said that she is trusting ¬†him to protect her and keep their late night visits a secret from everyone. Offred’s trust with Serena joy (the Commander’s wife) is almost none. For some reason Serena Joy hates Offred, so any means of trusting each other is out of the picture. But later on in the story they build a slightly trusting relationship. Not out of friendship, but out of mutually benefiting each other. Serena Joy wants a child, And Offred needs to get pregnant in order to stay alive. To help both of them out Serena Joy secretly sets up dates where Offred and the guardian “Nick” will try to make a child. Going back to the thesis, Offred’s trust in the relationship with the Commander’s wife is changing. Although, later on in the story Serena Joy claims to of found out Offred’s secret about her meeting with her husband. Serena Joy confronts Offred saying how could you be so vulgar, I trusted you! I tried to help you! In this example it’s Offred who changed the role of trust in the relationship. Possible a good thing, because getting too close to Serena Joy could be a very bad idea. Another example of a trusting relationship is Offred’s and Nicks. In the beginning they start with a mutual trusting relationship when they find each other alone in the house. They trust that they won’t say anything about the encounter because it would get them both in trouble. Again when they are secretly trying to make a child, they are trusting each other to keep their illegal task a secret. But soon after, all of the trust shifts onto Offred when Nick says the resistance is coming to get her out. Offred must decide whether or not he’s telling the truth. She puts all of her faith into what he is saying, trusting that she is going to walk away from this alive. Throughout the book many of Offred’s relationships are dealing heavily on trust and revolve around it. Out of the three examples I gave you, all of them fluctuated in the action of trusting each other. To answer my initial question “How does the action of trust change for Offred throughout the book?”, I think that due to her situation she had to adapt her relationships to benefit herself the most. Trusting the Commander gave her entertainment and a sense of belonging. Trusting Serena Joy gave her the opportunities to get closer to Nick, with the possibility of getting pregnant. And although we don’t know for sure in trusting Nick she was given the possibility of escaping Gilead and having freedom. In conclusion Offred’s trust has moved into and out of certain people, resulting in her favor, possible an escape.