Characterisation of Offren in The Handmaids Tale

hannah rashid
Mind Map by hannah rashid, updated more than 1 year ago
hannah rashid
Created by hannah rashid about 5 years ago


Mind Map on Characterisation of Offren in The Handmaids Tale, created by hannah rashid on 11/25/2014.

Resource summary

Characterisation of Offren in The Handmaids Tale
1 In relation to others
1.1 "We slept... -At the Start of the novel she establishes her self as group collectively with the other handmaids
1.2 Doubling - the similarities between her and other hand maids, society sees the as the same personworth nothing but their reproductive systems.
1.3 Relationship with Serena Joy. She agrees with society in that her only purpose is to reproduce so their relationship with Serena is very basic. Offred hoped to see her as a mother fiqure but this isnt possible with Serenas attitude towards her. Cht 3
1.4 Rita thinks the have a choice to be handmaids - pg 20 " The Martha's are not suppose to fraternize with us..."
1.5 The commander treats Offred like she is expandable, which in this situation she is because she isnt really a person. pg 147- "If your dog dies, get another"
2 Internal and external representation
2.1 Historical notes -we see her through the professors eyes, this is the only other view we get of her that isn't completely biased and based on her views. They question a lot of the narrative and debate whether she was worth of any value when we don't know her name or personalized details, they are not contended with knowing her story
2.2 Through the narrator
2.2.1 It's all in first person so it's limited to just what she sees and what she wants us to see.
2.2.2 She gives a very brief description of herself and almost none of other people, so can we really trust it?
3 Action
3.1 Reminiscing of the past life shows she is still trying to survive, her flashbacks show a internal strength.
3.2 Ask for the moisturizer
3.3 Laughs out loud (p.156) "Laughter boiling like lava in my throat" she hasn't felt joy in a while but she is now
3.4 Outward actions she is a everywoman, she is playing a part that has been assigned to her by the state. She lowers her head when they get to the wall, she turns her head away from the tourists, she does not initially talk to Nick.
3.5 p73 looking, or not, looking at her body
4 Dialogue
4.1 What the character says about themselves
4.1.1 Page 153 “I am 33 years old. I have brown hair…” Use of vague reductive language, so she could be anyone. Later on in the paragraph she recognises her ovaries as her defining factor.
4.1.2 Page 83 “I have failed once again to fulfil the expectation of others, which have become my own.” She has internalized their expectations. Putting as much pressure on herself as they do.
4.2 Through what other characters say about them
4.2.1 Page 197 “You want my life to be bearable to me.” (Commander) “I do. I would prefer it.” The Commander speaks to her like a real person. He is the only person at this point who communicates with her on an equal level, and this is shown through their dialogue.
4.3 Use of language: what words/phrases/sentences do they typically use?
4.3.1 Page 31 “It’s an event, a small defiance of rule…” The only way she feels she can maintain control of her own life. She needs an act of defiance to keep herself sane.
4.3.2 Page 94 “My name isn’t Offred…” She never uses her real name, she sees it as something precious that shes needs to bury away from harm, and that one day she will be able to dig it up again.
5 Setting
5.1 Literal
5.1.1 “I lie… out of my own time” p47 shows that she uses her room for reflection (private identity).
5.1.2 “Lilies used to be a movie theatre, before” p35 always describes the setting using the past.
5.2 Figurative
5.2.1 “lettering… temptation for us” p35 she is not allowed any freedom not even intellectual freedom.
5.2.2 “Good weather holds” p53 she is hopeful despite the scenario.
6 Physical Appearence
7 Symbolism
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