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Color Symbolism in Handmaid's Tale

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by

Emma Finnerty

on 12 March 2014

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Transcript of Color Symbolism in Handmaid's Tale

Handmaid's attire
Throughout the novel colors are used to symbolize factors such as

control
gender divide
sexuality
rankings
violence
dominance
Blue
The color blue symbolizes
peace
stability
depression

The reference to the color blue is perhaps a Biblical Allusion to the Virgin Mary

Blue is the color the wives wear
ironic because the wives do not possess the qualities of the Virgin Mary

These outfits are more flattering than those that the handmaids wear, and is a symbol of status

BLACK
this color is a symbol of power and evil, bad luck and misfortune

The commanders wear elegant suits showing their high authority- power and evil of the commanders


Also the black dress that the commander gives Offred is symbolic of sin because a handmaid cannot wear that type of clothing.

RED
The color red is the most dominant symbol used in the novel

Red is the color of the handmaid's attire which they are forced to wear.
These outfits are a representation of the dystopia

"Everything except the wings around my face is red: The color of blood which defines us"
Emma Finnerty & Damien Montague
Color Symbolism in Handmaid's Tale
Prevalence of Color
GREEN
Green is symbolic of the environment, money, envy

The representation of envy is apparent with the Marthas who wear a dull green outfit
The ency the handmaids who are able to bear children while they are not
WHITE
White is the color of innocence and purity.

The white wings the haindmaids wear are reminders to remain pure.
Extremely ironic due to the violation by the men in the society




BROWN
The color brown is known as a dull red.
this relates to the clothing color of the aunts who try to neutralize the handmaids' feelings
The colors in the book are most symbolic of social dominance
"There are other women with baskets, some in red, some in the dull green of the Marthas, some in the striped dresses, red and blue and green and cheap and skimp, that mark the women of the poorer men. Econowives, they're called. These women are not divided into functions. They have to do everything; if they can."
Color Symbols in the Serena Joy's garden
blue lily, red tulips, bleeding hearts, carnations, white lily,
THE END
Full transcript