General Analysis of The Handmaid's Tale

Summer Pearce
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Summer Pearce
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Includes; YouTube analysis, narrative techniques, and key terms

Resource summary

Slide 2

    Narrative Techniques
    The following narrative techniques can be found in The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood; First person Stream of consciousness Flashbacks Dialogue (both present and imagined) Symbolism (e.g. flowers and Handmaid's uniform) Mix of autobiography, romance (Nick and Luke) and science fiction (novel takes place in different world) Fragments of three stories (before Gilead, Offred's time at the Red Centre and after her arrival at the Commander's house) The Government have pieced together Offred's recordings hundreds of years after Gilead's eradication. 
    Memory as a means of resistance (chapter 10, page 64) Discontinuous narrative, due to frequent time shifts Memory as a means of survival and keep hold of sanity (Chapter 10) Repetition (night sections) - shows the monotony of her life Double vision - looking at one thing and thinking about another (Chapter 5, page 35) Scrupulous attention to detail (page 161) Unfinished stories (page 262) - readers don't know what happened to Moira, Luke, etc. Not always a trustworthy narrator (Chapter 40, page 273) Opening chapter is confusing and disorientating Monotony of life contrasted with sensory perceptions and memory (page 83)

Slide 3

    Keywords for Novel Analysis
    Syntax - The way in which sentences are structured, the order of words. Lexis - The author's choice of words. Semantic field - A set of words linked by meaning throughout a text. e.g) In An Inspector Calls by J.B Priestley, Mr Birling's lexis include words such as 'hard', 'businessman' and ' capital, which suggests he interested in money.

Slide 4

    Themes
    Women's rights and feminism Relationships Marriage Children Infertility 
    Less obvious themes: Human rights Discrimination Nostalgia and memory Hierarchy House ≠ home Religion Business agreements between social classes Rebellion War and peace Oppression
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