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University Degree: Margaret Atwood

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    Essay on Maragret Atwood

    This story is allusion to the humans wanting to clone the Thylacine, a tiger, in order to save it from going extinct, but end up eating the cloned Thylacine in the end. This whole situation is conveyed as ironic because the humans start off trying to save the Thylacine, which shows that they are selfless because they care about matters beyond themselves, but end up caging it to entertain them and then eating it. "They got some DNA out of a bone and they emptied the nucleus out of the egg of a Tasmanian devil and the put the Thylacine bone DNA into the egg, and it grew, and they implanted it...and finally they cloned the Thylacine."

    • Word count: 1636
  2. To what extent is Offred a heroine? There are many unique features that make up a heroine of a story. Generally, the hero or heroine

    Later into the story, there are more signs that Offred is going to break the rules and rebel against the Aunts and Guards, and other higher members of the hierarchy. When Offred sees the message "Nolite te bastardes caborundorum" it appears to inspire her. Although Offred does not know that it means "don't let the bastards grind you down", she still feels it "pleases" her to see it. This is because she knows that another handmaid has left that message for the next handmaid to read.

    • Word count: 1054
  3. Compare the mental state of the unreliable narrators of "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "The Tell-tale Heart." Why do both narrators perceive surveillance as a constant threat?

    Most of the story seems to be written in the style of a journal which the narrator secretly writes as she lays in bed. The way the authors writing style changes as the story progresses gives the readers a clue to the protagonist's deteriorating mental condition. Throughout the story the narrator's sentences seem to get shorter and more cut. There are also paragraphs consisting of only one or two sentences " How she betrayed herself that time! But I am here, and no person touches this paper but ME-not alive!"(387)

    • Word count: 1098
  4. In Margaret Atwood's "The Blind Assassin" and in Patrick Suskind's "The Perfume", the main characters cease to agree with any of the above notions. It is in the psyche of one's mind to require some sort of motivation in order to progress

    Grenouille achieves his goals; Laura does not. Though both Jean Baptiste Grenouille and Laura Chase are passion drive individuals, their methods of achieving their goals differ to an extent that results in Grenouille's personal fulfillment, and in Laura's absolute downfall. When viewed from a rudimentary perspective, Grenouille and Laura are alike in the sense that both characters allow their passion to consume them completely. Every bit of energy within their being is directed towards a single thought, a single obsession.

    • Word count: 1519
  5. Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.

    The regime reduces some women, the so-called Handmaids, to a purely pro-creational function. The protagonist of the novel, Offred, holds such a role. Handmaids are assigned to Commanders, who undergo a regular pro-creational ceremony with the Handmaids. During these cold, formal rituals the wife is not only present, but lying on the bed with the Handmaid. This helps to maintain the appearance of the sanctity of marriage, one of the many Judeo-Christian dogmas that the Gilead regime fiercely upholds. This formalization and institutionalization of the act of s*x represses the s****l freedom of the handmaids, and can be viewed as the enslavement of fertile women.

    • Word count: 1449
  6. Offred describes her narrative as "A limping and mutilated story". How does this image relate to either the structure or content of "The Handmaids Tale"?

    It is believed the dislocated opening emphasises the fear and confusion to come. It is believed Offred's description of her narrative can be associated with her relationship with the commander's wife (Serena Joy). There is strong contrast between the two characters, one young and dressed in red and the other elderly and dressed in pale blue. Serena Joy is a more powerful character and opposes Offred because of her position in the Gilead society. Offred's job is to produce Offspring (because Serena Joy is infertile)

    • Word count: 1013
  7. The Handmaids Tale

    Although there are many characters in the novel only the real personalities of a selected few are revealed. Offerd is the main protagonist and the narrator of the novel, she is a younger woman who has lived through a great deal of change and chaos. Offred survives to make several tapes of her life's journey that serve as the story line for the novel. Offred does not seem to a particularly strong character, however she does endure a lot. She takes what she is given and for the most part does not rebel until later in her life, it seems at first as though she is submissive.

    • Word count: 1189
  8. How does Atwood present Offred's situation and character to us in 'The Handmaid's Tale'?

    At this stage the reader does not know why she is sleeping in an old gymnasium and there are no longer any basketball games or dances. The reader will be intrigued to why she is there. In the first chapter there are only very subtle clues to why she is there and I think this is because Atwood wants the reader to be intrigued and ask questions. These flashbacks also show the travel of Offred's mind, with the use of asides and digressions.

    • Word count: 1288
  9. Offred may be the heroine of her own story but there are many other heroines in the narrative. Discuss three of them and their function in the novel 'The Handmaid's Tale'.

    As the narrator Offred is defying the routine and she feels it is her duty to record events and not get emotionally attached she says 'One detaches oneself. One describes.' This emotional distance enables her to accept that the responsibility of being a handmaid has been unavoidably imposed on her and that she has no other choice so the only thing she can do is record the unreasonable conditions. Offred feels like her life is a performance and I think that the fact that she can bear to live like that makes her a heroine in her own way.

    • Word count: 1167
  10. How Effective Is The Opening Of The Handmaids Tale? Concentrate Of The First Four Chapters, Incorporating Analysis Of Characterisation, Themes And Atwood's Use Of Symbolism

    Offred's descriptions of her surroundings are vivid, her description contains use of each of the senses, and she smells 'the pungent scent of sweat, shot through with the sweet taint of chewing gum and perfume', this invites the reader to empathise with Offred, and renews the idea that although Gilead as a society may be far from what we live in, we do have our links to it. Atwood creates a sense of the void within Offred's room. Offred's description of the room is comprehensive and she takes in all the small details in the room.

    • Word count: 1057
  11. Presentation and importance of "The Handmaids Tale"

    There are also a lot of short, sharp sentences at the start of the extract. This creates tension and sets the mood for the rejoining of these old friends. It is obvious that the friends are very close and have been for a long time by the way they insult each other. Friends that are not to close do not call each other insults such as "whores". The smoky atmosphere could be seen as being a metaphor. It is ironic that it is smoky and the women in there cannot really see the rest of their lives clearly.

    • Word count: 1033
  12. Examine the Character of Offred and Consider her Role as the Heroine of the Novel.

    She insists on voicing her own opinion when the regime demands total silence. However, her freedom is very circumscribed and she is unable to tell her story within the Gileadean context; she can only tell it after she has escaped. Therefore, Offred's only possible gesture against the silences of death and history is the act of story telling. Furthermore, through the language she uses, rather than the events of the story she tells, Offred convinces us of her resistance to Gilead's values.

    • Word count: 1144
  13. 'There is more than one kind of freedom,' said Aunt Lydia. 'Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from.' Examine the qualities of life for women in the light of Aunt Lydia's statement.

    The past for Offred is now gone, and probably will be forgotten or changed by future generations in time. We learn about Offred's background as she recounts her past and she tells us about the situation she now finds herself in. We know that Offred is educated; she studied Psychology, English and Economics to a high level, maybe studying these subjects at a university. In the days of ''anarchy'' women were encouraged to study and become educated. Now in the Republic of Gilead, Offred and the other Handmaids are not allowed to read or write. Even the shop signs only have pictures on, it was decided that ''even the names of shops were too much temptation'' for them.

    • Word count: 1537
  14. How does Atwood present the commander throughout "The Handmaid's Tale?"

    He knows it is against society yet still takes the risks, Offred describes their meeting as illegal but for her to 'refuse to see him could be worse, there is no doubt who holds the real power' The commander simply manipulates Offred into following his lead as she knows what could happen if she doesn't see him, by 'worse' she means she could be sent away and declared an unwoman or be placed on the wall. Differently than before, during their first visit the Commander is almost presented as a pitiable character.

    • Word count: 1106
  15. Discuss the use of the historical notes in the Handmaid's Tale.

    Atwood firstly uses the historical notes to make fun of academic conferences. This is obvious as the scholarly jargon is self-conscious and the humour extremely unfunny and complex. Therefore whilst amusing to the academics it is an instant off-putting for the reader which in turn outs him/her of the academics. Essentially all the reader wants to know is what happened to Offred and not if they are going on a fishing trip or not. These nature walks and fishing expeditions are mentioned briefly but purposefully at the beginning of the notes 'The fishing expedition will go forward.'

    • Word count: 1300
  16. Analyse the relationships between the characters in the Handmaids Tale.

    what have I done wrong." This quote shows how Offred feels before her first meeting with the Commander. The image of her standing outside the principles office gives me that impression that Offred feels nervous because she knows that the power isn't with her, the Commander is in control he can decide her fait which is why she feels nervous. We see how not all the power in this relationship is with the commander. He might have the social power and be able to decide the fate of Offred but still Offred has something the Commander wants, "I want you to kiss me," Kissing is forbidden between the Handmaids and Commanders.

    • Word count: 1148
  17. Comment on Atwood's use of imagery in chapters one to thirty-three of "The Handmaid's tale".

    This seems to be her way of protecting herself from having to think about the actual event, which she is describing because it may have been too painful for her to simply tell in full. Flowers are also a symbol of fertility so by using this flower imagery throughout her story, Offred could be making references to the great importance placed on fertility in the Gileadean society. Eggs are also mentioned in chapter two, which also occur later on in the novel because they are also a symbol of fertility.

    • Word count: 1764
  18. Compare and contrast the presentation of the major female characters in the novel, including Offred, Ofglen, Moira, Serena Joy & Offred's mother.

    Offred seem to respond to events rather than encouraging them unlike her friend Moira. In many ways Offred would like to be more out of control like Moira but never finds the strength to be openly rebellious but would like to be. Offred yearns for communication with others and would like to be able to form close relationships. Her only freedom is the relationship she forms with The Commander. Her 'arrangement' with The Commander is in the form of games of Scrabble. It is here that Offred is her liveliest and most feminine. Offred is seem as a "two-legged womb", she is valued only for her potential as a surrogate mother for Serena Joy.

    • Word count: 1072
  19. How does Atwood explore the theme of love in the novel 'The Handmaid's Tale'?

    Right through to the times where Offred was having an affair, with Luke, her present husband. Moira's love for Offred seems to come across as her guide and advisor, she is the one individual described by Offred as being a 'fantasy' and also by the other handmaid's. When Moira and Offred meet one another after a time of separation in the new regime Offred describes being 'ridiculously happy.' This immediately indicates to the reader, the fact that the friendship shared between these two women is so intense that even after a long separation they are 'still' excited and happy to see one another.

    • Word count: 1597
  20. How does Atwood present 'hope' in the novel 'The Handmaid's Tale'?

    Margaret Atwood initially presents 'hope' in the novel when the foremost character, Offred; is informing the readers of the method in which she is dressed, from head to toe in "red." Offred describes herself as being "...some fairytale figure in a red cloak." Immediately from this quotation the readers come to learn the fact that Offred is being presented as non other than the fairy tale figure of Red Riding Hood, the sweet, innocent young girl, out in the big bad world, alone.

    • Word count: 1871
  21. Explore the significance of the Historical Notes in light of the rest of the novel.

    The truth that Offred recorded her story on tapes suggests that Nick did help Offred to escape Gilead. This is when we see that Nick was a good character and makes us feel good that he was a male within a society run by men who helped the women. We also assume that he may have rescued other women in the ommanders house hold. However it is also made aparant to us by Professor Piexoto that Nick may have been saving Offred for his own safety, as we know that 'The penalties for unauthorized s****l activity with a Handmaid were severe'.

    • Word count: 1175
  22. Do you think the commander is a sympathetic or corrupt character with in the book?

    Is he just acting to make Offred like him? We don't know. He asks her to play scrabble. Fairly innocent. However at the end of the evening he says 'I want you to kiss me' which shows us his corrupt. It as if he entered Offred into a secret deal, scrabble in exchange for the kiss, which of course she has no say in. 'Staring at the magazine, as he dangled it before me, like fish bait.' He knows how valuable this magazine is to Offred but I feel that he likes to watch her hunger for the things she wants.

    • Word count: 1381
  23. How far do you agree that Atwood has created not a real person but a mouthpiece for her ideas in the characterisation of Offred?

    These images create emotion and a real person of Offred as Atwood establishes an emotional quality in her and thus makes the reader believe her to be real. This is also due to the past that Atwood establishes for Offred which gives her an identity and recognisable individuality. It can be seen by the way in which Offred talks about her daughter that she is extremely important and she is a great emotional significance in her life; "My treasure...A shadow of a shadow, as dead mothers become.

    • Word count: 1219
  24. The Handmaid's Tale is a powerful story of relationships.

    This little amount of power gives the Aunts the feeling that they are superior to the other women in the society; it also allows them to thrust their views and opinions upon the handmaids supposedly caring for. The aunts are also very confident within themselves and the position that they hold within Gilead. This can be seen in Chapter 43 when the salvaging takes place and one the Aunts is able to control a whole group of handmaids at the blow of a whistle, ordering them to kill someone.

    • Word count: 1425
  25. The Commander's Wife, Serena worked in pre-Gilead days as a gospel singer, then as an anti-feminist activist and crusader for "traditional values."

    The climactic moment in Serena's interaction with Offred comes when she arranges for Offred to sleep with Nick. It seems that Serena makes these plans out of a desire to help Offred get pregnant, but Serena gets an equal reward from Offred's pregnancy: she gets to raise the baby. Furthermore, Serena's offer to show Offred a picture of her lost daughter if she sleeps with Nick reveals that Serena has always known of Offred's daughter's whereabouts. Not only has she cruelly concealed this knowledge, she is willing to exploit Offred's loss of a child in order to get an infant of her own.

    • Word count: 1634

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • In close analysis of Nick’s character discuss whether he is Offreds saviour or her down fall.

    "In conclusion Nick saves her because he takes her away at the end. He also releases her from the pressure and tension of Gilead. He tries to make everything feel as normal as possible the way it used to be by having a relationship the sneaking around is like a stimulant but Offred should be used to it due to her affair with Luke. He also gets her pregnant which means that even if he didn't save her at the end it meant that she wouldn't have to go to the colonies. However, he does take huge risks, which would mean that he is endangering his and her life for cheap thrills such as winking and touching her foot."

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