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Word Count: 1,632
The last chapter of the novel the historical notes may be unsatisfying to some readers in the sense that we are still not given a conclusive end to Offreds tale Both the reader and Professor Pieixoto are able to deduct from the very existence of the tapes that Offred was indeed rescued from Gilead However what happened to her after that This uncertainty is reflected through what Offred herself says when the black van comes to pick her up And so I step up into the darkness within or else the light Was Offred able to start anew in Canada Perhaps England Or did the scars of Gilead mark her for life and leave her unable to adjust to her new surroundings As readers of Offreds tale we have been through so much with her - through all her horrific experiences under the hostile Gileadean regime Therefore it is only natural that we are compelled to ask these questions However no answer would ever be provided even with the inclusion of the historical notes This uncertainty is what may be so frustrating to a reader NEVERTHELESS the historical notes are indeed important in shaping a readers interpretation of the novel as a whole Firstly they greatly affect our understanding of the structure of the novel From the historical notes we see that the Handmaids Tale was recorded only after Offred escaped Therefore although the tale is in the present tense hence giving it a sense of immediacy this fact reduces Offreds credibility when she tells us of her experiences Imagine remembering everything you did in the last two years and not only that but also your thoughts and reactions to what happened It would be impossible for us to write an accurate account just as Offred wouldnt have been able to remember every single detail exactly as it had been At various points throughout the novel Offred herself tells us that the tale
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