Now she is forced to accept her demeaning role as a handmaid and forget that she ever had a family, a voice to speak out, or any rights at all.
Offreds past is ultimately what makes her present so unbearable. If she had never known any other way to live, then it would be easier for her to accept her lot in life as a handmaid. However the fact that she had experienced so many more freedoms before the coup and the chemicals and the pollution that changed everything, makes it all the more difficult for her to adjust. Her situation is not unlike someone who has lived free and then suddenly finds themselves spending life in prison. Had they lived their whole life in prison, they would not know what it is like to live free, so they would likely handle it much better than someone who had to make the adjustment from one way of life to a much less desirable one.
Women today could not even fathom having their rights suddenly stripped from them after all the progress they have made. Women have come to view themselves as equal to men and the idea that they could suddenly become subjugated to men seems not only impossible but insulting.
For Atwoods tale to be a viable future in real life would seem to imply that women are only afforded equal rights now because men allow them to, however they could just as easily take all those rights back. Such a notion completely diminishes the importance of the entire female gender; a gender which is not only important to the human race because the ability to bear children, but also because of the intellectual, artistic, and innovative contributions women make to society. Sadly for Offred, this is not the way women are viewed in Gilead. However one would hope that her fictional future could never be a reality, simply because women (and hopefully men) have too much respect for the female gender to ever allow or.