The Handmaid's Tale

Inaccessibility of Truth 12th Grade

“There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth” (Twain, 3). When a novel is told in first person perspective, as evident in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Handmaid’s Tale, the knowledge of the reader is restricted by the knowledge and reliability of the narrator. The reader assumes the truth of the story being narrated unless told otherwise; without this assumption, it could be possible that none of the events told in the story even took place. Authors Mark Twain and Margaret Atwood bring into question the reliability of the narrators in their novels The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Handmaid’s Tale through the characterization of these narrators in terms of the settings in which these novels take place, emphasizing the prevalence of the concealment or elusive nature of truth in the societies portrayed in both works.

Twain chose to use a child as the narrator of his novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, creating the possibility of a misrepresentation or misinterpretation of the events depicted. The narrator, being a child, would be more prone, compared to an adult, to holding an untrustworthy perspective as he may not understand certain circumstances or subtle inferences that would...

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