Witness and testimonial literature have gained special significance in the 20th century in response to the traumas that people experienced then. Two dystopian novels by Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments, are also classified as such, even though they are set in the fictitious Republic of Gilead in the near future.
In both cases, the story is told by a first-person narrator, unreliable by default, but still able to bear witness to the events. In the first novel, the narrator is trapped by the circumstances, but still looking back to the pre-Gilead times. Her tale is her means of survival. In the second novel, the narrating voice is splintered into three distinct ones- one of the architects of the system, a girl raised in Gilead and an outsider, travelling south but unable to fully grasp the reality there. Once the four voices intertwine, the picture of the regime takes the form of her-story.
The aim of the paper is to analyze the way in which the four narrators in the two novels perceive the regime and how they deal with the trauma.