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Symbols and Motifs in the Handmaid's Tale

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Gemma S

on 19 March 2015

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Transcript of Symbols and Motifs in the Handmaid's Tale

Word
Definition
Definitions
Motifs
Clothing
Conclusion
Symbols
An object suggest more than it's literal meaning
Allow the reader to see a deeper meaning to the story
Red symbolizes fertility, etc.

Motifs
An element is present many times and supports the major themes
Chandelier shows the consequences of living in a theocracy
Symbols
Color
Gemma Spicka-Proffit
Symbols and Motifs in
The Handmaid's Tale

Symbolism
When an author uses an object or idea to suggest more than it’s literal meaning.

Motif
A recurrent thematic element in an artistic or literary work.
What is the importance of symbolism and motifs?
Symbols and motifs allow the reader to have a deeper, more appreciative understanding of the action and
themes in the literature.
The Eyes
Eggs
The chandelier
The match
Each color represents a different role in society.
Red
Green
Blue
"The color of blood which defines us."
What does
red
symbolize?
Blood
Fertility
Failure/success
Eyes of God are Gilead's secret police.
Insignia is an eye with wings.
What do The Eyes symbolize?
God is always watching
Corruption
Serena Joy allows Offred to go into the kitchen and get a match for herself.
The match represents rebellion and freedom.
Offred is often eating eggs
Menstrual cycle
Fertility
Personification of an egg
Each status of women has a color that they wear.
Exemplifies subjugation of women.
Worn by
Handmaids
Wives
Marthas
Symbolism of the color
Fertility, blood, desire, passion
Power, cold, seriousness
Jealousy, service, misfortune
(Incredible Art Department)
Represents the possibility of freedom
Supports theme of consequences of living in a theocracy
Offred often thinks about the previous Offred
Eye
Many eyes throughout the book
"I go up the stairs, my face, distant and white and distorted, framed in the hall mirror, which bulges outward like an eye under pressure."
"I could burn the house down. Such a fine
thought, it makes me shiver.
An escape, quick and narrow."
"The egg is glowing now, as if it had an
energy of its own. To look at the egg gives me intense pleasure.
The sun goes and the egg fades."
"I look up at the ceiling, the round circle of plaster flowers. Draw a circle, step into it, it will protect you. From the center was the chandelier, and from the chandelier, a twisted strip of sheet was handing down. That's where she was swinging, just lightly, like a pendulum; the way you could swing as a child, handing by your hands from a tree branch. She was safe then, protected altogether, by the time Cora opened the door."
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