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The Handmaids Tale

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Haley Mixon

on 9 October 2012

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Transcript of The Handmaids Tale

Background Characters Three Acts: Important Quotes Three Themes - Power can be manipulated. -"There is no such thing as a sterile man anymore, not officially. There are only women who are fruitful and women who are barren, that's the law."
This quote is important because it shows the superiority the men have over the women. -"My arms are raised; she holds my hands, each of mine in each of hers. This is supposed to signify that we are one flesh, one being. What it really means is that she is in control of the process and thus of the product."
The importance of this quote is that it shows the power that the wives have over the handmaids' lives. -"I used to think of my body as an instrument, of pleasure, or a means of transportation, or an implement for the accomplishment of my will... Now the flesh arranges itself differently. I’m a cloud, congealed around a central object, the shape of a pear, which is hard and more real than I am and glows red within its translucent wrapping."
This is important because Offred is explaining the difference in her meaning from the before time and the current time. It explains how in the society, the women are no longer important. Only the women who are fruitful are important because they can have children. Act I: In each household, there is a Commander and his wife who are over the Marthas, the Handmaids, and the helpers. They are all forced to wear clothing that covers their entire bodies.The fruitful women are made into Handmaids and the barren women are sent to the Colonies and made to work. All materialistic things are burned and forbidden. Offred is taken away from her family and taken to the Red Center. She is then assigned a Commander. Once a month, a Ceremony is held by the Commander, Serena Joy, and Offred.

Act II: The Commander starts secretly inviting Offred to his office. He gives her things they are not allowed to have. He tells her about the previous woman who lived in the house. Serena Joy suggests that Offred should try to have a baby with Nick. The Commander take Offred to "the club" where she sees Moira. The Commander gets a room for Offred and himself.

Act III: Offred starts seeing Nick every night after her visits with the Commander. One day she came back from a shopping trip to find out that Ofglen committed suicide to keep from being arrested. Serena Joy confronts Offred about her trip to Jezebel's and sends her to her room. Nick comes in with two of the Eyes and tells her to trust him and to go with the Eyes. The Eyes take her away in the black van. Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa, Ontario to Margaret Killam Atwood and Carl Edmund Atwood on November 18, 1939. She grew up spending most of her time traveling and did not attend school full time until she was in the eighth grade. Atwood attended Leaside High School in Leaside, Toronto and graduated in 1957. After highschool, she furthered her education at Victoria College and majored in English and minored in French and philosophy. She has written over fifty pieces of novels, poetry, and short stories. Atwood's novel The Blind Assassin won a Booker Prize in 2000. Her work has been published in over 40 languages including Japanese, Turkish, and Korean. Atwood currently lives in Toronto. Representatives of the powerful (Those in control): The Eyes. The Eyes are in control because they are like spies and if the handsmaids break the rules or try to escape then the Eyes take them away in their van to be killed. Representatives of the "typical" citizen: The Commander and his wife. The commander and his wife aren't technically in control, but they could turn in the handmaids. They don't really like their situation, but they are not willing to do anything to try to change the way life is. One character disenfranchised with society: Offred. Offred is the lowest class of society. She is looked down upon by everyone in Gilead. She can't make any decisions for herself and is forced to do whatever anyone of a higher class than her tells her to do. If she refuses to do so or tries to escape she will then face the ultimate price of death. -Love may be portrayed through sexual acts. - When men try to overpower women, it has its negatives and positives.
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