The Handmaid's Tale - commentary on an extract "The Ceremony goes as usual."

Authors Avatar by theenglishfroggy (student)


The beginning of the extract immediately catches the eye, as the first paragraph is only composed of one  short sentence; "The Ceremony goes as usual." therefore emphasising it and creating a pause. This makes the reader doubt about it's signification even though it's a simple phrase, it's a declarative sentence forming a statement . The word "Ceremony" refers to a formal act such as a wedding, the fact that the author capitalised it re-enforces it's importance and consequently the impression of a positive and joyful occasion . However the end of the sentence "goes as usual" instals a dull feeling to the phrase, giving the "Ceremony" a sense of routine, fading away the idea of a happy moment and suggesting that it's unavoidable. The writer makes the reader unprepared for the description to follow, thereby creating a greater feeling of shock.

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Indeed, the opening of the second paragraph makes the reader feel embarrassment and shame towards the narrator."Fully clothed except for the healthy white cotton under drawers". She is lying on a bed, fully clothed except for her privates uncovered.

As the description continues, the author uses the subjunctive "if I were to open my eyes" which expresses a wish, a possibility, a state of unreality. This allows the

narrator to imagine the "white"  carpet representing purity, which reassures the reader that is shocked by the previous sentence. But she then states that she "would not see" it, which ...

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