The Commander

Holly Austin
Mind Map by , created almost 6 years ago

English Mind Map on The Commander, created by Holly Austin on 11/06/2013.

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Holly Austin
Created by Holly Austin almost 6 years ago
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The Commander
1 The husband of Serena Joy
1.1 Has an affair with Offred and with the old Offred
1.1.1 Serena Joy suggests that he did this with the handmaid that came before Offred
1.1.1.1
1.1.2 He takes her to a hotel that Offred and Luke used to go to when he was still married and they engaged in an affair
1.1.2.1 Clear links to the past and history being repeated
2 “Better never means better for everyone… it always means worse for some.”
2.1 "We thought we could do better"
2.1.1 The use of the hedge/verb 'thought' suggests that he recognizes their actions and Gilead as not being by his definition 'better'
2.1.2 Suggests he really thought his actions would help people and implies that he wanted to help people
2.2 "You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs"
2.2.1 He understands that Offred and the women of Gilead are suffering because of regime but justifies this by claiming that women are safer as there are no single mothers struggling to raise their children, all are supported during pregnancy and birth, women are no longer subject to domestic abuse, etc.
2.2.1.1 When Offred asks about love, he rather callously replies that love is overrated and that arranged marriages are better
2.2.2 Collectivist attitude (focussing on the benefit to society as opposed to the sacrifices certain individuals will have to make)
3 Symbol of power, oppression and gluttony
3.1 He indulges in forbidden things, such as Scrabble with Offred, possession of books and the Vogue magazine, having an affair with the handmaids and the Jezebel's club
3.2 If Historical Notes are to be believed, and he is Frederick Waterford, then he was killed in The Purges for the possession of books and pictures and for having 'liberal tendencies'
3.2.1 Historical Notes suggest that it is not only the Commander who feels above the law; the speaker says that all Commanders, having played a part in the creation of Gilead, felt like they didn't have to abide by the laws of Gilead
3.3 Even the title of Commander gives him power as it shows that he is strongly for the Gilead regime as he played a part in establishing it
3.3.1 He is vague about how he gained the title of 'Commander' - says he worked in advertising and a researcher of sorts
4 Believes in patriarchy
4.1 High up in the patriarchy (established Gilead)
5 Well educated, but uses informal greetings and pre-Gilead terms
5.1 Claims to appreciate the literal arts, which is his sole reason for being in possession of books
6 Selfish
6.1 Puts Offred at risk of being executed for having an affair
6.2 He makes Offred feel 'cheap' when he dresses her up and takes her to Jezebel's
6.3 His actions indirectly led to last handmaid's suicide
6.4 Doesn't think about his wife's feelings regarding the affair
7 Shows affection towards Offred
7.1 Unconsciously goes to caress Offred's cheek tenderly during Ceremony
7.1.1 Says he wants passion and love - something his wife has never given him
7.1.1.1 He is disappointed when his affections aren't reciprocated by Offred
7.2 Gives Offred magazine and lotion
7.2.1 Shows Offred has power over him which she uses to her advantage
7.2.2 Could be a ruse so that she feels more inclined to have sex with him as she owes him
7.2.2.1 Says that he reads and plays Scrabble with Offred because his wife doesn't appreciate the things he likes - makes out that he wants companionship from Offred, someone he can enjoy the things he likes with
7.2.2.1.1 Offred feels she has more power as she has something Serena Joy doesn't and that her husband desires - a change from how she usually feels as she believes she has no control and Serena Joy has more than she does
8 Patronizing/naïve at times
8.1 Doesn't understand why Offred gets angry when he asks about why she can't be happy with her situation
8.2 Doesn't think Offred can count
8.3 Similar to Luke in a way in his patronizing and careless attitude towards the effects of the Gilead regime on women and the idea that women need a man to take care of them

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