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The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood

Key Questions and Answers

Summary Key Questions and Answers
Why doesn’t Offred reveal her name when she records her story?

The reader never learns why Offred chooses not to share her name but can make educated guesses. Perhaps Offred fears being captured or targeted. This act of distancing herself may also be an act of survival; as she observes early on, a person’s name matters, and if she thought too much about her real name, she might focus on the loss of her former life. From the reader’s point of view, Atwood’s choice to withhold Offred’s real name renders Offred more of a blank slate, one upon which any female can superimpose herself and the specifics of her own life.