patrycja2017
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Hi does anyone have any sort of notes on the handmaids tale that they could share with me, I'd be happy to do the same

Need some revision resources for my mocks soon.

Thank youuu,
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soIiIoquy
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(Original post by patrycja2017)
Hi does anyone have any sort of notes on the handmaids tale that they could share with me, I'd be happy to do the same

Need some revision resources for my mocks soon.

Thank youuu,
Could you be more specific, notes on themes? context? characters? interpretations?
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patrycja2017
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(Original post by soIiIoquy)
Could you be more specific, notes on themes? context? characters? interpretations?
yeah so interpretations and themes would be good, I'm okay with characters and context
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soIiIoquy
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(Original post by patrycja2017)
yeah so interpretations and themes would be good, I'm okay with characters and context
Power - Gilead is a theocratic dictatorship so all the power is from the top of the hierarchy. The power is very explicit, the power of the government is covered on the streets and even in the homes by guards and guns. There is constant surveillance (refer to the panopticon) and that the only way people are free is in their own heads thus creating isolation between individuals.

Some of the characters also display power e.g Offred displays her power simply because she is a woman and that she knows that she is awakening ideas in mens heads. Also, the handmaids want to kill themselves in order to have power over themselves and their bodies. She also thinks she has supposed power over the commander but realizes she doesn't because he can't help her escape from this dystopian world.


Sexuality - the whole book is about this control of sex and sexuality. They kill those who are gay or lesbian, they also destroy pornography + sexual exposed clothing, and also kill those doctors who give abortions. The Commander reveals not only that he carried out a series of affairs with his Handmaids, but that there is a more or less "secret" club where higher-ups consort with women solely for sexual purposes. These actions demonstrate that the government cannot expunge illicit sexual acts merely by threatening fearful punishments.

Feminism - Atwood is viewed as a feminist writer, the handmaids tale actually presents a complex view of feminism. First of all, Atwood stresses in many interviews that the extreme nature of Gilead is a result of the conservative and feminist viewpoints simultaneously being espoused during the time that she wrote the novel. Moira is the novel's mouthpiece for many of these ideas, and when Offred remembers the arguments they had, she is dwelling on many of the ideas that influenced the novel. The most important idea was Moira's belief that living solely with women would solve many of the problems women were currently facing. In many ways, the new social order in Gilead is supposed to provide for a society of women. Most women have very little contact with men. Women are expected to support each other in times of birth, death and sickness. Women teach other women about the new regime. Within a household, women work together to fulfill the different functions of their gender.

Language - One of Atwood's most intricate and well-integrated themes is that of the power of language. The idea of storytelling is woven throughout Offred's tale. She explains that everything is a re-interpretation of something else; nothing is an exact description of the truth. She considers possible themes for her story, pointing out that she has attempted to improve the tone of her story by adding in things like "flowers". She apologizes for the presence of so much violence and pain.Another interesting use of language is found in the manner in which Offred thinks of words and analyzes them, using them to distract her from her reality and to help her survive, eg when playing Scrabble with the commander.

Gender Conflict - Offred becomes more and more aware that as a man, Luke is on one side of the new regime, and she is on another, despite the fact that she believes he loves her. The Commander tries to explain to Offred why the new regime is better for men, and essentially admits that in order for it to be better for men, it must be worse for women. One of the most obvious questions is whether these feelings were simply repressed in the old society, or whether they were created by the new one. In general, relationships between men and women are not shown in an even remotely positive light. The exception is the relationship between Offred and Nick: the strength of that relationship lies in Nick's sacrifice of his own safety in order to be with and help Offred.






















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