• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Atwood present the Commander in Chapter 15?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Katie Yeowart How does Atwood present the Commander in Chapter 15? In 'A Handmaid's Tale' the Commander is the most powerful authority figure in Offred's world. He is a high-ranking governement official and he is the head of the 'household' that Offred has been 'assigned' to. The Handmaids are defined solely through their bodies and their Commander and in chapter 15 we see why. The chapter begins with the Commander knocking at the door, the knock is 'prescribed', this gives the chapter an isolated, clinical feel now that the Commander is entering his wife's 'territory' Atwood's use of language here is very effective, she says how the Commander 'is supposed to ask permisson to enter' and how Serena Joy 'likes to keep him waiting'. This shows the reader the awkwardness and power in the Commander & his wife's relationship. Serena Joy in the next chapter is about to have her role as a wife violated, she is taking advantage of the power she has over the 'Household' because in the next chapter she is powerless to the Ceremony. ...read more.

Middle

The relationship between the Comander and his wife is revealed again in this chapter, Atwood describes how the Commander 'nods, in the direction of Serena Joy, who does not make a sound', there is a lack of communication between them and it is on full view for the rest of the household to see. The Commander proceeds to unlock an ornate box, the word 'ornate' is perfect for this box and chapter as everyone is in a complicated situation. The contents of this box is a bible which is 'kept locked up' the way people 'kept tea locked up', tea was very expensive therefore precious, the Bible can also be seen as precious because this society is based on Biblical teachings.However the Bible is almost described as dangerous to this society, 'it is an incendiary device..who knows what we would make of it'. The Commander reads this 'device' and the household are 'expectant...here comes our bedtime story', this adds to this view of first apperances are dangerous, this 'falsely innocuous' man is now reading his 'household' a bedtime story from the Bible. ...read more.

Conclusion

This suggests several things, the 'journey of darkness' could be the view of this dystopian society which the Commander is clearly 'blind' to,(he fulfills his legal obligations within his household but does so without conviction) and the only person who can 'see in darkness' is a woman, this could be Offred, as she is so far seen to be against this society. Atwood uses language to create an intense and uncomfortable atmosphere, for example, 'She watched him from within...We're all watching him' since he has entered the room the Commander has been watched by all. Again, Atwood uses a similie to describe the Commander: he is 'like a boot...hard on the outside, giving shape to a pulp of a tenderfoot', this is another effective use of language in Atwood's presentation of the Commander. The final use of repetition in Chapter 15 is very effective, Atwood is still trying to evoke sympathy 'Still it must be hell, to be a man, like that' but then she corrects herself 'It must be just fine...It must be hell...It must be very silent'. Atwood is showing that she has not made a decision about whether the Commander is a 'hard' man who is emotionless, if he was this situation would be 'just fine', however if not then his situation 'must be hell'. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Margaret Atwood section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Margaret Atwood essays

  1. Handmaids - Explore the portrayal of Serena Joy and the Commander in the ...

    We don't get vivid descriptions of the Commander at first. He is a character which you know is there but we don't get to meet or see at the beginning of the novel. This portrays him as a slightly mysterious, and you never quite know when to expect him to

  2. What analysis of the female role does Margaret Atwood offer in ' The Handmaid's ...

    She defends her position as a single mother, and accuses her daughter of political irresponsibility. Her feminist ideas are quite extreme even in today's society, especially concerning her views of men. 'A man is just a woman's strategy for making other women.

  1. What specific aspects of society do you think Atwood comments on in The Handmaid's ...

    It is seen several times in the Old Testament, of the Bible. The Biblical society is not as rigid as the Republic of Gilead, which Margaret Atwood has built, but it is very similar. It is in Genesis, 30:1-3, where the story of the handmaid originated.

  2. How does Atwood present the commander in the novel?

    This shows a slight resentment by the commander who throughout the novel seems hard character to break down. This can make the reader either feels sorry for the character or see him as cruel and Atwood has presented this very effectively so you feel mixed emotions about the character making

  1. Margaret Atwood,

    Another important issue which is raised is the idea of disguise. The narrator is extremely attracted to this idea, and it is brought up many times. "I pull on my powder-blue sweatsuit, my disguise as a non-artist," here she shows her embarrassment over expressing her artistic self, and prefers to remain anonymous.

  2. Compare and contrast the narrative structures in 'White Teeth' and 'Beloved' and how the ...

    Therefore, the links are more direct and the reader is able to see the effect of the past on the present more immediately whereas, in 'White Teeth' the reader has to create links over time to see how the events that occur in the present day actually stem from the past.

  1. Compare the ways in which narrative perspectives vary in 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' and ...

    By putting himself in the novel, Fowles presents himself as 'mortal' and no more powerful that his characters. In chapter 13, he also suggests that after the thorough characterisation of the first twelve chapters to make the characters more realistic, he is losing control of them: "It is only when our (novelists')

  2. What do you find interesting about the ways in which Margaret Atwood presents relationships ...

    This is particularly ironic, as Gilead advocates hierarchical, patriarchal structures and the phrase is originally a surmise of Marxism, the two being entirely theoretically opposed. Many societies have manipulated religion to influence people, and Gilead ensures success by prohibiting reading and controlling the media - an uneducated population being easier to control.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work