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What impressions have you formed of the narrator? How has Atwood created these impressions? Give detailed evidence for your answer - 'The Handmaid's Tale'

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Introduction

What impressions have you formed of the narrator? How has Atwood created these impressions? Give detailed evidence for your answer The narrator of 'The Handmaid's Tale' is a woman who calls herself Offred. This is not her real name, but a name that she has been given by the particular husband and wife she is staying with. This makes the narrator seem mysterious, and Atwood creates this impression by not telling us the narrator's real name. From the very start of the novel, Offred has given me the impression that she is quite well educated by the way she speaks and expresses things 'like the place in a face where the eye has been taken out'. This type of simile, which she uses also, gives us the impression that she isn't very happy about her surroundings because she is using violent expressions and associating things, which are supposed to be quite pleasant to things that sound very disturbing and of a violent nature. 'Clouds like headless sheep', normally clouds are associated with bright fluffy marshmallows and pleasant things like that, but the narrator sees the clouds in the sky as disturbing images. ...read more.

Middle

An exchange, of sorts.' Atwood uses narrative techniques to help us feel that we are inside Offred's head. For instance, when Offred has flash backs of the past, of her former life, she often talks in the way that we already know what she is going on about, in her use of pronouns. Offred never says the name of her child, but just uses the word 'She' and immediately we all know that she is going on about her daughter. Another clever way Atwood does this is by the way Offred tells us about her senses, what she smells, what she sees, what she hears, what things feel like, so that we know every exact detail of what Offred is seeing, hearing smelling and feeling 'The tulips along the border are redder than ever, opening, no longer wine cups, but chalices, thrusting themselves up, but to what end?' Also in this sensory description, she uses a sexual innuendo; 'thrusting' is a type of word, which can be described for the actions of sex. This could relate to how she was feeling towards someone else who was there at the time, Nick, in chapter eight. ...read more.

Conclusion

Offred seems to be quite sane through the entire novel, and she manages to not let on that she hasn't been brainwashed like the rest of the women there. She manages her private thoughts well, and she controls her time. This is where she preserves her memories and thoughts of her former life and the thoughts that she has of the situation she is in now, for the night times, because she believes that night is the only time when nobody is watching her, and when she is free to think and become emotional if she wishes to. Whereas in the daytime she puts on a public face, and acts as though she is a believer. She manages these faces well and never gets them mixed up. I feel that Atwood has created the narrator to be level headed for a reason, I think that if the narrator was a little on the edge, then readers would not be able to relate to her and may just think that she is just making it up. This way, with the narrator being sane, it makes the story more 'believable' and more impressionable. Cathy Jones English Essay ...read more.

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