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University Degree: Margaret Atwood
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The name had simply been hidden from me before. I knew that I could no longer trust what had surrounded me for all this time so I turned my back on Distraction and began walking farther up the path once more. By the time Distraction was far out of sight, the trail seemed to become more abundant in colour as the life around me seemed to no longer look towards only the ground, but in all directions. It was not long before I realized that I was now hearing a new sound in my ears.
- Word count: 999
Happiness does depend on ourselves, since it depends on the actions we take. By examining the situations and tribulations of Moria, Offred, and Offred's mother, one can recognize that Offred's inaction leads her directly to the path of unhappiness, while Moria takes action and fails to achieve happiness, whereas Offred's actions brought her happiness. In Atwood's novel, the character of Offred is the protagonist who's inaction leads to unhappiness. In the newly formed society of Gilead, the state has taken control of reproduction to combat low birth rates.
- Word count: 631
While the other sections provide a reflection of the mundane nature of Gileadean life, Atwood utilises the 'Night' sections in presenting Offred's reminiscences on the past time, through which the majority of character and plot development takes place. Offred uses the night to express subversive notions such as the theme of re-ownership and independence in the quotation, 'the night is mine...to do as I will', as well as the significant reclamation of her body: 'I sink into my body as into a swamp...where only I know the footing.'
- Word count: 918
The narrator says of her tale 'I'm sorry its in fragments like a body caught in crossfire and pulled apart by force' how appropriate description of the structure of the novel do you consider this to be?
The writer uses the narrator to tell the story bit by bit not all at once. Throughout the novel she refers back to the past to give the reader information on what has happened in her world, to e like this its not until chapter 28 that offred the narrator reveals what actually happened to Gileads, the place she lives ad lived and how it all happened. The are no speech marks when the narrator refers to the past ' I remember that yearning ' the quote in the book does not have speech marks which show that she is not speaking about her memory but mealy thinking it in her head.
- Word count: 926
Using the extract as a starting point discuss how Atwood uses language in the novel as both a tool of oppression and a means of rebellion.
A radical departure from the formality of their prescribed relationship. The words Offred goes on to spell with these glossy smooth edged counters shows the reader how this self conscious narrator is feeling, weighed down using the above specific words to make herself heard by the commander whilst laughing in his face, "Limp", "Gorge", more words she decides to spell. Outside normal hours, without Serena Joys knowledge or presence, "it's like sneaking into the dorm after hours" except it's an "oasis of forbidden".
- Word count: 851
"I want to see as little of you as possible" Serena coldly spurts out to Offred, "I was disappointed, I wanted, then to turn her into an older sister, a motherly figure, someone who would understand and protect me". Offred clearly has been welcomed not as she was expecting, however Offred and Serena are both alike in this state, they both want a child, and the attention of the both focuses on commander of whom Serena is very possessive over "As for my husband, she said, he's just that.
- Word count: 870
The Handmaids Tale - At the beginning of chapter twenty-three Offred says, "This is a reconstruction. All of it is a reconstruction." What have you found interesting about the way the book is written? Explore the problems and pleasures, which you have enc
I found this very off-putting from the point of view of a reader. I also feel it puts the readers of the book at a disadvantage. An example of this is when the story begins, as it starts in a flashback, when Offred is at the training camp. The readers have no idea what is going on and it is not until several chapters later that the readers can work out what is going on. Though some readers may see this as a good point as the book is a challenge to read, which in their opinion would make it more enjoyable.
- Word count: 858
By referring to Serena before coming across her Atwood shows her as a distant and mysterious character, by not revealing too much about her. This gives the reader nothing to sympathise with her as she intimidates Offred and is presented as an unsympathetic character Serena's dialogue is also another indication of her power and how she intimidates Offred, The first time she is presented to the reader her first words are 'so you're the new one' these are not warm and inviting as you would expect from someone who is meeting someone for the first time.
- Word count: 536
Stories and story telling has many purposes in 'The Handmaids Tale.' Discuss how and why Offred tells her stories.
In chapter 7, Offred explains her storytelling as a survival tool "I would like to believe this is a story I'm telling. I need to believe it. I must believe it. Those who can believe that such stories are only stories have a better chance.... If it is a story I'm telling then have control over the ending, to the story, and real life will come after it." She explains that what she is telling is not a story but it is what is going through her head. She then explains how she can only 'tell' as writing is forbidden.
- Word count: 810
Margaret Atwood is a poet as well as a novelist. Comment on some of the recurring images used by Atwood in the novel.
This refers to the story of Jacob and his two wives, Rachel and Leah, and their handmaids who are required to bare children for them. It is repeated many times in the text, and there is a reminder of it in the name of the Rachel and Leah Centre and also in Offred's remark: 'Give me children, or else I die' (Chapter 11, page 71) There is also a long passage from the New Testament (1 Timothy 2:9-15): 'I will that women adorn themselves in modest apparel....'
- Word count: 738
Chillingworth and the Commander are carefully intertwined into the novel in a similar fashion. The reader meets Chillingworth at Hester's most vulnerable stage as she stands on the scaffold revealing her scarlet letter for the first time. His real character and relationship with Hester is not spoken about immediately, as the author wants Chillingworth to remain dark and mysterious. Hester's reaction towards the "stranger" in the crowd holds the reader in suspense. He is also portrayed as mysterious because he is a newcomer to the town, his figure is disproportionate and his face is "a writhing horror", and he arrives with the Native Americans.
- Word count: 963
The antics of totalitarian leader Stalin have been duplicated through the rise of Sadham Hussein, something that governments and communities would have never expected to have seen again but it was allowed to happen, this is just one example of political errors that is comparable with the regime in Gilead which Offred is scrutinizing. The Handmaids Tale is on a par with George Orwell's "1984" and Aldous Huxley's "A brave new world" it follows in there dystopian themes and character similarities are evident, however, The Handmaids Tale is a feminist book and the repression focused on its primarily received by women.
- Word count: 847
As a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, her sole function is to bear her Commander children. She is regarded by the state as a thing, not a person - hence her name Of-Fred (Fred is the name of her Commander). The Commander and his Wife are both superior to Offred in Gilead's hierarchy. Below her come all the other members of society. Of course, this does not automatically mean that she has power over all the lower classes. They are responsible to the Commander and his Wife only. Offred herself, of course, is responsible to the Commander, although the Wife also has the power to get rid of her: "If I'm caught it's up to Serena's tender mercies I'll be delivered.
- Word count: 903
Nick is the driver for the commander and lives in a room above the garage by himself. He has a French face, lean with all the angles and "creases around his mouth where he smiles." He dresses in dark clothes so if she wants to fantasise about him she can, tall, dark and handsome. Nick is mysterious to us at first as we did not know if he an eye or not he wears the uniform of the Guardians but his "cap is tilted at a jaunty angle and his sleeves are rolled to the elbow."
- Word count: 801
"You want my life to be bearable..............I do. I would prefer it." This quote shows that the Commander, who is supposed to feel nothing towards the Handmaids, can't help giving into his sympathy, as it is a natural thing for people to do. His character also conveys the feminist and socialist issues, both negatively and positively. Although he leaves the character of Offred little choice in Whether or not she agrees to meet him, it also shows that she is needed and that she has something that he wants even though she is female and socially beneath her.
- Word count: 934
She appears to be a complete contrast to Offred as she is bold and out-going, her language is vulgar and brash. Furthermore, the fact that she is allowed to be gay in society shows how much more freedom there was in a pre-Gilead culture. Moira is a clear role model for the handmaids, especially Offred. She displays exceptional courage and determination throughout her time at the Red Centre: 'You can't let her go slipping over the edge. That stuff is catching' When Janine shows weakness in the Red Centre, Moira takes it upon herself to help her and make sure the Aunts don't find her like it.
- Word count: 849
The technique of constantly drawing attention to the way fiction is created is called Metanarrative Technique. The emphasis throughout is on process and reconstruction, where 'truth' is only a matter of the teller's perspective, by showing how stories, truth, even history can be revised, for example, Offred thinks about killing the commander when he asks to kiss her, but she didn't really.
- Word count: 586
At this stage, Offred does not explain how or why she and the others are where they are. Her senses tell her things which go beyond immediate perception, however, and she smells, as an "afterimage" (an interpretive frame used constantly through the novel), the (pre-Gileadean) gymnasium with its sweaty smells, evocations of dances, desire, longing, relations between men and women: "There was old s*x in the room and loneliness and expectation, of something without a shape or name. I remember that yearning, for something that was always about to happen and was never the same as the hands that were
- Word count: 921
The Night sections are extremely significant in the novel, not for just explaining Offreds past and current situations, they also show how oppressive the society in Gilead must be. For Offred to feel too on edge to remember her memories in the day time or when she and Offglen do daily walks to collect groceries, shows that Offreds mind is constantly buzzing with a fear of some sort or other of the current society. When Offred became a handmaid, she was stripped of her identity and everything that made her who she was, so for her only choosing to remember
- Word count: 991
When he calls Offred by her "real name" during her removal, this hints that Nick is in fact helping her to escape, and not sending her to her death, as through out the book, she has used her real name as her code for survival, and as a way of clinging on to the past. Nick's character can also be linked to that of the commander, who is perhaps one of the most ambiguous characters of the whole book. This linking of these two can also help the reader to recognise the doubles theme, which permeates the whole text.
- Word count: 693
After Offred leaves with the aid of Nick, we do not discover if she manages to escape. Atwood leaves the continued existence as an unanswered question for the reader. As the reader, one would hope that Offred survives and was able to escape, and the historical notes keep her alive. Although the historical notes provide a continued existence for Offred, they still contain s****t, misogynistic views. Professor Piexioto condemns Offred and dismisses her story, claiming it is unreliable. Piexioto is more interested in establishing the history of Gilead from a purely political aspect and rejects Offred's emotional feminine approach and claims; "Our job is not to censure but to understand."
- Word count: 951
I would say that women do not even hold the power of s*x above men. Granted, the male s****l urge is stronger and more frequent than that of women, but women too have a desire to be touched and a desire for s*x. Men cannot "rise to the occasion" on command; rather they must be "into the situation". Women would be unable to exercise this power over men, women's desires and the physical strength that men possess counteract the measures women may take to dominate men. The initial dilemma women face is how to employ their s****l power over men.
- Word count: 647
A friend who in Lois? mind completely vanished off the face of the earth; her body was never recovered. A young Lois recalled, ?Lucy did not care about things she did not know, whereas Lois did?, from this it can assumed that Lois is a character of strong need for closure and she never got it. In her mind there was no way Lucy could just disappear like this, she had to be somewhere. With this mindset taken into her adulthood an older Lois had rebirthed Lucy through these landscape paintings symbolic of her death.
- Word count: 907