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

Author's treatment of time in "Handmaid's tale"

Extracts from this document...


Discuss the author's treatment of time in a novel you have studied. A dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale is authored by the Canadian author Margaret Atwood. Through the novel, Atwood's treatment of the time has an essential role delivering the themes and the messages to the readers. Atwood employs Offred as the main charater to narrate the story in an unchronological way. Later, the Professor James Darcy Pieixoto narrates the story in year 2195. In Atwood's novel, Offred tells the story in an unchronological order, and enables the readers see the differences between totalitarian society of Gilead and pre-Gilead society. In Gilead, a group of religious leaders has taken the power. Gilead is a society founded on a "return to traditional values," gender roles and on the subjugation of women by men. Atwood uses Offred's flashbacks to emphasize the brutality of the republic of Gilead. ...read more.


To characterise the protagonist, Offred, Atwood mainly uses the 'night' chapters of the book. Atwood structures the novel in different sections, and the 'night' is the most frequent section. The nights'plays an important role in the novel as it is the only time of the day when Offred has her 'own' time. "The night is mine, my own time, to do with as I will" shows that Offred feels free in the nights and, thinks that it is her 'own.' This emphasizes that there are limited amount of things that are her own in the state of Gilead. Furthermore, in the night, Offred frequently has the flashbacks of her pre-Gilead life, and also thinks about her life in Gilead, and Atwood shows that Offred is a character who analyzes what she gets taught by the Aunts, and tries to oppose them mentally, "Aunt Lydia did not actually say this, but it was implicit in everything she did say" is an example showing Offred thinking about what she got taught. ...read more.


"Give me children, or else I die" is from Genesis, 30:1-3, and commander reads it before the ceremony. To finish her novel, Atwood uses 'Historical notes" to changes the time to year 2195. This helps to answer the questions created by the unchronolgical structure of the story. Also, the narrator changes to Professor Piexoto, and this shows the observers' point of views about the Gilead. The Professor's last sentence is "Are there any questions?" It gives the story a deliberately open-ended conclusion. Therefore, the readers are asked to judge Gilead's evil, tyrannical, and soul-destroying society. The Handmaids Tale travels over the time by using the parts such as nights and the historical notes. Also, the protagonist herself tells us the story in the unchronological way. The readers may get confused. However, Atwood treats the time in her own way to highlight the brutality of Gilead, and the "historical notes" at the end of the novel helps to understand about the whole story. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Languages 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 International Baccalaureate Languages essays

  1. essay The Handmaids Tale

    Although the centres were structure to destroy hope, rebellion against the authority existed for a long time even within them. The causes for these rebellions were not as much because fear of death or loosing freedom as of seeking shelter together from the social reforms and the human tendency to reject everything new.

  2. Fasting Feasting by Anita Desai Detailed Study Notes

    Another simile used here symbolizes Mama to be a knife. Knifes are used to kill, murder and take the life of a living thing. My view would be Desai has symbolized the mother to be a knife because knifes take peoples life's and this case Mama has taken the life of Uma away from her.

  1. Handmaid's Tale

    She, as all Handmaids, has to wear red dress that covers almost all her body and wings, because nobody should see her face, only in a house. It is very interesting to see how in the first chapter she can't call room where she lives "her own room", but in

  2. Tempest notes

    the usurping duke, is in the wrong, Prospero did not do anything for Milan: he pushed the responsibilities on his brother so that he can study his magic I, ii, 243 - 300 Thesis: As Shakespeare characterizes the magician Prospero and the spirit Ariel, the power dynamic is established between master (Prospero)

  1. Scarlet Letter-Nathaniel Hawthorne-Study Questions

    What effect does the midnight vigil have on Hester? Hester was totally shocked at what Dimmesdale has become. He is on the verges of collapse. She decides to help Dimmesdale to get out of his own mental suffering. 30. What has Hester's a come to mean too many of the townspeople?

  2. Analysis of Nadine Gordimer's Once Upon a Time.

    Commercial fiction often attempts to cue the reader when and what to feel. However, this story lets readers think and analyze for themselves. For example, the narrator describes the burglaries in a very objective manner (Gordimer 222). So, the third-person narration (for the most part)

  1. The Other Slipper - retelling the story of Cinderella.

    It was bleeding like a water stream racing to the valley. She rushed to the glass slipper, leaving a trail of her dripping crimson blood. She inserted her enlarged foot into the petite glass slipper and still as expected, failed to fit.

  2. Book Essay. In Elizabeth Gilberts story of self-discovery, Eat, Pray, Love , ...

    Gilbert?s purpose is to encourage people to ask themselves the same questions she asked herself during her endeavor for self-discovery, and encourages the idea of self-reflection. The reader develops a bias toward Gilbert because of her lack of credibility that is a result of her illogical reasononing.

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