The Handmaid’S Tale


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  • Hi,

    - Depends on what constitutes rape, I guess. Given the world she lives in and the weight of expectations upon her, she has no real choice, arguably. She is not in charge of her own sexuality.
    - I think it just means 'We know some of their names and not others.' I didn't write the presentation, though, so I'm just guessing.
    - She's very much a trophy wife, isn't she? The fact that he is no longer, or never was, particularly fond of her, does not change the reasons he had for marrying her.
    - Shredded babies - yep, you're right.
    - There is some hope at the end, certainly when compared with the rest of the novel.
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The Handmaid’S Tale

  1. 1. The Handmaid’s Tale M. Wilson
  2. 2. Characters: <ul><li>Handmaids: </li></ul><ul><li>Offred, Offglen, Offwarren </li></ul><ul><li>All wear Red </li></ul><ul><li>All are ritually raped </li></ul><ul><li>All are denied knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Some are rebellious </li></ul><ul><li>Some are collaborators </li></ul><ul><li>Some are named e.g. Janine </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>The Wives </li></ul><ul><li>All have high status </li></ul><ul><li>All wear Blue </li></ul><ul><li>All resent the Handmaids </li></ul><ul><li>All want children </li></ul><ul><li>All control their household </li></ul><ul><li>All support the Dictatorial regime of Gilead </li></ul><ul><li>Some are trophy wives like Serena Joy </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Aunts and Martha </li></ul><ul><li>All have defined roles </li></ul><ul><li>All wear a uniform of brown or green </li></ul><ul><li>Aunts control the handmaids and indoctrinate them into obeying the rules </li></ul><ul><li>Marthas cook and clean and serve they do not have to be fertile and they do not breed. Usually older women </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Commanders: </li></ul><ul><li>All wear black </li></ul><ul><li>All are in total control </li></ul><ul><li>All represent patriarchy including biblical roles </li></ul><ul><li>Some are sterile </li></ul><ul><li>Some rebel e.g. Scrabble, Jezebel’s </li></ul><ul><li>Some want more than just sex with the handmaids </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Guardians, Angels, Doctors and Eyes </li></ul><ul><li>Men </li></ul><ul><li>Symbols of control and surveillance </li></ul><ul><li>All are ambitious to succeed </li></ul><ul><li>Some desire handmaids therefore they are hypocritical </li></ul><ul><li>Some are rebels e.g. Nick </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Time Shifts: </li></ul><ul><li>Day is unsafe and Offred is constantly under surveillance </li></ul><ul><li>Night is safe and she lives within her mind </li></ul><ul><li>The Past is a place of happiness and conflict, family and independence </li></ul><ul><li>The Present is a nightmare, a dystopia </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Symbols: </li></ul><ul><li>Mirrors, colours, flowers, eyes, names, </li></ul><ul><li>Structure of the novel: contents page is on the left not the right, the Historical Footnotes contradict the novel </li></ul><ul><li>The Masculine discourse ‘constructs’ the Handmaids voice, patriarchy is alive and well </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Events: </li></ul><ul><li>Linked to sex, birth and death </li></ul><ul><li>Very little positive hope e.g. mostly images of death, the Wall, shredded babies, being sent to the colonies to die </li></ul><ul><li>Handmaids get 3 chances then banished to die even though it is the commanders fault he is sterile </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Structure: </li></ul><ul><li>Novel starts with despair and ends with hope. </li></ul><ul><li>Historical footnotes introduces a jarring male voice which has controlled the Handmaids story </li></ul><ul><li>He criticises her and labels her </li></ul><ul><li>We are left with a new image of the story </li></ul>