Handmaids tale

Mind Map by S B, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by S B over 5 years ago


Mind Map on Handmaids tale, created by S B on 08/21/2014.

Resource summary

Handmaids tale
1 Identity
1.1 handmaids were thought of a 'sacred' (not sacred people, but reprdouctive organs
1.1.1 Offred described the handmaids 'we are two-legged wombs, thats all; sacred vessels, ambulatory chalices
1.2 lack of communication/ without the right to use birth names
1.2.1 'we learnt to lip read, our heads flat on the beds, turned sideways, watching each other's mouths. In this way we exchanged names from bed to bed: Alma, Janine, Dolores, Moira, June
1.3 the categorisations and use of colour coding (assigned roles)
1.3.1 'everything except the wings around my face is red; the colour of blood, which defines us forced to follow roles as they have no other identity short phrases show her acceptance of her place in society
2 Power and oppression
2.1 loss of sanity in an oppressive world, used to gain control
2.1.1 'sanity is a valuable possession; i hoard it the way people once hoarded money'
2.1.2 to keep her sanity, Offred explores the meaning of words 'chair, charity' and attaches herself to objects rather than people 'in reduced circumstances the desire to live attaches itself to strange objects'
2.2 they gave Offred a choice to become a handmaid, an unwoman or die
2.2.1 they think this is a choice but being a handmaid was her only chance of survival
2.2.2 'nor does rape cover it: nothing is going on here that i haven't signed up for this statement is separated by a colon, the second phrase is explaining the first her compliance and despondent attitude to being a handmaid
2.3 motif of the rooms
2.3.1 offred = waiting room she is always waiting - for child, for others (nothing happens in a waiting room)
2.3.2 marthas = kitchen
2.3.3 serena joy = sitting room
3 Resistance
3.1 offreds resistance exists because of past experiences and memories of freedom, family and access to knowledge
3.1.1 she wouldn't want to resist if she didn't know there was a better life e.g. Luke, daughter
3.2 use of language as a form of resistance
3.2.1 'May day'
3.3 'as long as we do this, butter our skin to keep it soft, we can believe that we will some day get out, that we will be touched again, in love or desire'
3.4 'Faith' cushions
3.4.1 'There must have been three once. Hope and charity' Offred's noncompliance by reading and thinking when she was not supposed to
4 Role of women
4.1 Handmaids/ women are downgraded
4.1.1 Pearls are congealed oyster spit' something beautiful can be objectified to be negative and insignificant
4.2 blaming infertility on women, not men
4.2.1 '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'
4.3 Flowers are symbols of beauty and fertility. they are seen throughout handmaids as objects that can bloom and grow when few women can. flowers held the repoductive organs of the plant
4.3.1 constant reminder of the fertility that most women lack 'Watercolour pictures of blue irises' 'red of the tulips' - it is like a bloodies mouth of a hanged man
5 Surveillance
5.1 the eyes were the secret police of Gilead. Both their name and emblem symbolise the eternal watchfulness of God and the totalitarian state
5.1.1 Gilead was supposed to provide the Handmaids with freedom from the male gaze by not being sexualised the watching of the eyes is even more intrusive
5.1.2 'four digits and an eye, a passport in reverse. its supposed to guarentee that i will never be able to fad, finally into another landscape' an ever present reminder that her body is under surveillance, that it is atool over which an outside force has power
5.1.3 'it occurs to me that she may be a spy, a plant, set to trap me; such is the soil in which we grow offreds desire for freedom and escape makes her careless. she thinks that ofglen could be a spy but cant help but to confide in her. it shows the paranoia created through surveillence
6 Power of language
6.1 Freedom of speech
6.1.1 the wives and commanders are not restricted in the language they use which gives them power restricting the handmaids speech gives the government power
6.2 Freedom of thought
6.2.1 over analysing of words by Offred distracts her from reality when playing scrabble, she uses words to distract herself from fear or confusion
6.3 Storytelling
6.3.1 everything is a reinterpretation of something else; nothing is an exact description of the truth
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