Flashcards in The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood Deck (4)
"It was best not to speak unless they asked you a direct question."
- Controls rebellion through restricted speech/communication, enforces strict social hierarchy and lack of power.
"A Guardian detailed to the Commander does the heavy digging; the Commander's Wife directs, pointing with her stick."
- Recognisable only by rank, enforces social hierarchy, stripped of identity, false sense of power for Wives
"She wanted me to feel that I could not come into the house unless she said so."
- Offred's place in Gilead reinforced, Serena Joy knows indoctrination has not been successful
Physical value (fertility) > Human value (Thoughts/opinions)
- Impure, undeserving of a nice life
- Costumed -> tolerable (uncomfortable to admit human nature of Handmaids, given sexual slavery)
- Restriction of power of women's bodies
Traditional beauty standards discarded (modesty)
- Indoctrination successful -> Offred's discomfort in Jezebel's
- Dehumanised, collectivised, homogenous (Concentration camps -> Removal of identity)
- Juxtaposition pre-Gilead/Gilead
- Reader's knowledge frame of feminist/women's progress -> links between own world and horrific dystopia, motivates reader to take action
- Emphasised by speed of change, closeness of Gileadean regime to past
Section I : Night
"We slept in what had once been the gymnasium."
- Collective pronoun "we"
- Past tense participle of static material verb -> Undertones of death imply death of identity
- Modified by primary auxiliary & adverb emphasises rate of change.
- Definite article -> importance of school, childhood (safety, innocence) -> Emphasises lack of security in Gilead
- Concrete noun -> subverted reader's understanding of meaning -> alienates the reader
"The floor was of varnished wood, with stripes and circles painted on it..."
- Pre-modifying adjective -> Care and appreciation of material value (Foregrounds importance of material value -> Handmaids in Gilead)
- Covers up the past -> concealed Handmaid's true fate (propaganda?)
- Suffocated wood (plastic coating) -> Natural destruction (dystopian convention)
- Stripes and stars - American flag - Patriotism & religious fundamentalism
- Material verb -> childish & impermanent
"for the games that were formerly played there."
- Plural abstract noun -> Emphasises choice pre-Gilead