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Margaret Atwood is a poet as well as a novelist. Comment on some of the recurring images used by Atwood in the novel.

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Introduction

Margaret Atwood is a poet as well as a novelist. Comment on some of the recurring images used by Atwood in the novel. Margaret Atwood does indeed use a variety of different and recurrent images throughout the novel. Her use of imagery makes the story challenging, whilst at the same time painting a more visual understanding for the reader. Two important themes run through the story, biblical images relating to the ideology of Gilead and on the other hand more personal and feminine imagery portrayed by Offred. This makes the novel more human in my opinion. The first quotation in the book draws our attention to Genesis, 30:1-3: 'And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children...' ...read more.

Middle

References to the Bible, are repeated throughout the story, supporting the religion-based imagery created by the writer at the very beginning of the novel. As mentioned above, the imagery created by Offred is of a very feminine and personal nature. Sometimes she uses the same object but sees it in a different way at different times e.g. in the case of the wreath on the ceiling in her bedroom. On her arrival at the Commander's house she sees it as: '...In the shape of a wreath and in the centre of it a blank space, plastered over, like a fact where the eye has been taken out.' (Chapter 2, page 17) Here it represents the shape her life is taking, the never-ending circle of repetition and emptiness. ...read more.

Conclusion

She describes the wreath as: '...Like a frozen halo, a zero. A hole in space where a star exploded...' (Chapter 31, page 210) Cleverly, the writer guides the reader through the circular journey undertaken by Offred. Imagery relating to the moon is also to be found within the text: 'I wish to be totally cleaned, germless, without bacteria, like the surface of the moon' (Chapter 12, page 74) This is a reference to the sterile lifeless environment in which Offred has to exist. As time goes on Offred sees the moon from different views as she did with the wreath: 'The moon is a stone and the sky is full of deadly hardware, but oh God, how beautiful anyway' (Chapter 17, page 108) Here, emotionally Offred allows her heart to rule her head, and longs to be reunited in love with Luke. She acknowledges that there is little hope of her dream being realised. ...read more.

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