Chapter Six of The Handmaid's Tale

Summer Pearce
Slide Set by Summer Pearce, updated more than 1 year ago
Summer Pearce
Created by Summer Pearce almost 5 years ago


A-Level (Year 1) (Year 1) English Language and Literature (The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood) Slide Set on Chapter Six of The Handmaid's Tale, created by Summer Pearce on 06/08/2016.

Resource summary

Slide 1

    Chapter Six Overview
    Characters: Offred - protagonist, can relate to fellow Handmaid Ofglen Ofglen - perhaps every act is for show, difficult to tell, going to the Wall is a small choice, but she is still unused to having choice Luke - the man Offred cares for, Offred is worried she will find him on the Wall Serena Joy - connected to the red tulips and the red smile Narrative: symbolism of red (tulips and smile) - HM's not being healed or having a positive experience, no love, just pain and blood compares past and present through double vision discontinuous narrative through frequent time shifts e.g. football stadium to salvagings untrustworthy narrator - 'heads of snowmen' - these are not like snowmen
    Language:only one occasion of dialogue between Ofglen and OffredThemes: identity - no freedom to express themselves individually power - no freedom, no power, completely controlled fertility 

Slide 2

    What does the execution of abortionist doctors show us about Gilead? Children are very important in Gilead. ('No woman in her right mind, these days, would seek to prevent a birth.') Religious values contradict scientific benefits of abortion as abortion is absolutely wrong. (Abortions are described as 'atrocities'.)  Abortionists are painted as criminals, perhaps as a propaganda campaign to brainwash or scare citizens of Gilead. ('must be made into examples, for the rest.') It is a serious matter to obey the rules of Gilead, and not doing so results in death. How does the description of the 'informants' like back to the 'ancestors' Offred saw in the pictures? The ancestors dress according to social expectations, which are similar to the uniforms in Gilead (Commanders in black, Handmaids covering hair). Similarly, informants give in to pressures of the regime, and cave to the pressure of interrogation. ('another doctor, hoping to save his own skin')
    Offred describes the abortionists as 'time travellers, anachronisms'. How far is Offred an anachronism?She remembers how life used to be and is mournful of what has happened to society.She doesn't feel how she's expected to feel towards the hanged doctors - she still has feelings from her past life.She is not used to living in Gilead, as she is used to the norms of past.Significance of the change of tense 'Luke wasn't a doctor. Isn't.' - She is try to subconciously believe that he is still alive. 'It will become ordinary' - use of future tense when the entire chapter was in present, trying to make herself believe something about the future. The use of different tenses shows how Offred has a retrospective view of the past and present, as she is retelling the story at a later date. Distinction between tulips and red smile Offred is surrounded by red things - her clothes, the tulips, the bloodstain smile. She refuses to see them as all the same thing, as she and the other Handmaids are defined by the colour red. (Literally: their identity is shown through their uniform, Biologically: their role depends on their menstrual cycle and fertility, the blood of which is represented by the colour red. Offred wishes to distinguish her own identity from the other Handmaids, so she cannot see all red things are the same. 
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