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

University Degree: Margaret Atwood

Browse by

Currently browsing by:

Meet our team of inspirational teachers

find out about the team

Get help from 80+ teachers and hundreds of thousands of student written documents

  1. How effective are the narrative strategies in The Handmaid's Tale?

    Atwood uses defamiliarisation when Offred presents three accounts of her time with Nick, 'It didn't happen that way. Here is what happened', 'It didn't happen that way either' and 'This is the story, then', which all draw attention to changes, offer different viewpoints and bring the reader back to fictionality. Offred cannot find the language to describe her love affair under Gilead's repression. Atwood is determined that the reader hears Offred's story, 'Because I'm telling you this story I will your existence. I tell, therefore you are.' As with postmodernist structures, The Handmaid's Tale has no closure, no definite ending.

    • Word count: 2294
  2. How does sexuality a woman's way to be free in the Handmaid's tale? Humans are s****l beings. When we are born, we are affected by a s****l life.

    Because as the most important thing in the regime is to procreate, women are the ones who give birth, so I believe that it is through their body, how they control the society. And it is their sexuality their way to feel free, as they own their thoughts, and their feelings. Existentialists, state that human beings are able to define and determine their own life. You do this through your thoughts, and therefore through your actions. For example, by writing "faith" in the coushins, or witing "Nolite te bastardes carborundorum". People are accustumed to face problems. Sometimes these problems increment.

    • Word count: 2214
  3. 'Despite Atwood's portrayal of Gilead as soulless and destructive she has nevertheless succeeded in giving the reader a sense of optimism.' How far foes this accord with your reading of the novel?

    Ironically the regime is developed for s*x yet any attributes you would normally apply to a s****l relationship have been removed. There is no conversation, no intimacy, no pleasure or appreciation of yourself or your partner; in fact there is no relationship with your partner or anyone else. Physical contact must be kept to what is necessary and the act of s*x itself is simply necessary for reproduction. For the regime to work there can be no feelings. To prevent feelings developing within people towards others Gilead works to remove anything that makes the person unique, this is why the regime has been described as "soulless" as by taking away peoples' personalities you are practically taking away their soul.

    • Word count: 2725
  4. Is Offred a Rebel?

    They did not confront the enemy with the sword but with words. The novel 'The Handmaids Tale' by Margaret Atwood tells the story of a near future oppressive society governed by an elite group; men. This society 'The Republic of Gilead' rules by force and oppression and severely suppresses individual freedom. As one can see from the name, this society's absolute moral backbone is formed by Christian fundamentalism. Radiation and chemicals have contaminated the physical world in which this society dwells.

    • Word count: 2699
  5. Handmaids Tale - The Importance of Nick in the novel

    There is a strong forbidden attraction that has begun between Nick and Offred. Offred and Nick then meet many times, without Serena's knowledge. Offred believes she may be pregnant by Nick, and she feels relief to have for once a genuine human relationship. On the day that Serena confronts Offred with evidence of adultery and calls her a 's**t', Nick, purportedly an operative for the Eyes and double agent for Mayday, sets up a fake arrest and has her spirited away in an Eyes van, to a safer Glieadean free society.

    • Word count: 2384
  6. What is Atwood's message in The Handmaid's Tale?

    Canada is normally seen as a much more liberal country where as America is more known for their extremes showing that these could be the real danger that would result in such events occurring. Using references such as these makes the reader see how this could be a natural progression for the extremists, and understand how the current direction of society could eventually lead to such a regime. Offred describes herself as "A Sister dipped in blood" which is referring to the uniform handmaids are required to wear, by both the colour and by the literal blood shed to enforce the new regulations that require she wears it.

    • Word count: 2606
  7. Offred's tale has been described as "a resistance narrative". Is this appropriate given that Offred herself is neither a member of the Mayday resistance movement nor an obvious social dissident?

    There is a network of the Marthas, then, with something in it for them." To all these rebellious acts there are of course consequences. Consequences such as being scolded, beaten, tortured, being exiled as an unwoman sent to live in the colonies, even death. Ofglen, who was part of the Mayday resistance, Serena who acquired cigarettes and the photo of Offred's daughter off the black market, the Commander who visited Jezebel's and Nick who formed a relationship with Offred, all of who resisted of their own accord, each with their own specific motive that drives them on. In fact there are very few individuals in the novel that obey the law of Gilead precisely.

    • Word count: 2263
  8. 'Don't ever ask for the true story' - an examination of the narrative methods used in "Alias Grace" and "Affinity."

    (compare with affinity) DEVELOP: Alias Grace is divided into chapters as well as sections. Each section may have several chapters within it and at the beginning of each section there is a series of short extracts, such as newspaper articles, quotes from other books and information from punishment books from a penitentiary (1843) that Grace is admitted to. Affinity also possesses similar characteristics that cause the reader to feel more involved and provides the text with a realistic sensation. For example, a section of the text is entirely dedicated to displaying caption, expressing what may be a page in Selina's diary for 2nd September 1872.

    • Word count: 2783
  9. What is the importance of Nick in Margaret Atwood's 'Handmaid's tale'? Consider the ways in which the writer presents this character.

    Through the eyes of Offred we see Nick in a very sexy angle. Offred is attracted, fascinated and even afraid of Nick, of what he could be. He stands out too much, he is too 'casual' and 'not servile' enough considering his low social position. In a strictly defined society, he is an oddball, barely following the rules. Meanwhile the Commander compared to Nick is a very different proposition altogether. When he first appeared it was in their very first Ceremony.

    • Word count: 2410
  10. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood - Consider the way Atwood presents Professor Pieixoto's conference speech in the'Historical Notes'. What is the significance to the novel as a whole?

    The introduction to the main text of the notes is light, whilst prefacing the main speaker, along with the works for which he is recognised. The main work for which he is recognised is that entitled "Iran and Gilead: Two Late-Twentieth-Century Monotheocracies, as Seen Through Diaries", Iran being a country that imposed severe restrictions on the freedom of women and so has a direct link to Gilead. It is ironic that Iran and the United States are famous enemies yet impose similar restrictions upon their people.

    • Word count: 2395

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."

Marked by a teacher

This document has been marked by one of our great teachers. You can read the full teachers notes when you download the document.

Peer reviewed

This document has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review on the document page.

Peer reviewed

This document has been reviewed by one of our specialist student document reviewing squad. Read the full review under the document preview on this page.