Extract Practice

The Doctor almost pitied her.  Poor Catherine was not defiant; she had no genius for bravado; and as she felt that her father viewed her companion’s attentions with an unsympathising eye, there was nothing but discomfort for her in the accident of seeming to challenge him.  The Doctor felt, indeed, so sorry for her that he turned away, to spare her the sense of being watched; and he was so intelligent a man that, in his thoughts, he rendered a sort of poetic justice to her situation.

“It must be deucedly pleasant for a plain inanimate girl like that to have a beautiful young fellow come and sit down beside her and whisper to her that he is her slave—if that is what this one whispers.  No wonder she likes it, and that she thinks me a cruel tyrant; which of course she does, though she is afraid—she hasn’t the animation necessary—to admit it to herself.  Poor old Catherine!” mused the Doctor; “I verily believe she is capable of defending me when Townsend abuses me!”

And the force of this reflexion, for the moment, was such in making him feel the natural opposition between his point of view and that of an infatuated child, that he said to himself that he was perhaps, after all, taking things too hard and crying out before he was hurt.  He must not condemn Morris Townsend unheard.  He had a great aversion to taking things too hard; he thought that half the discomfort and many of the disappointments of life come from it; and for an instant he asked himself whether, possibly, he did not appear ridiculous to this intelligent young man, whose private perception of incongruities he suspected of being keen.  At the end of a quarter of an hour Catherine had got rid of him, and Townsend was now standing before the fireplace in conversation with Mrs. Almond.

“We will try him again,” said the Doctor.  And he crossed the room and joined his sister and her companion, making her a sign that she should leave the young man to him.  She presently did so, while Morris looked at him, smiling, without a sign of evasiveness in his affable eye.

“He’s amazingly conceited!” thought the Doctor; and then he said aloud: “I am told you are looking out for a position.”

“Oh, a position is more than I should presume to call it,” Morris Townsend answered.  “That sounds so fine.  I should like some quiet work—something to turn an honest penny.”

“What sort of thing should you prefer?”

“Do you mean what am I fit for?  Very little, I am afraid.  I have nothing but my good right arm, as they say in the melodramas.”

“You are too modest,” said the Doctor.  “In addition to your good right arm, you have your subtle brain.  I know nothing of you but what I see; but I see by your physiognomy that you are extremely intelligent.”

“Ah,” Townsend murmured, “I don’t know what to answer when you say that!  You advise me, then, not to despair?”

And he looked at his interlocutor as if the question might have a double meaning.  The Doctor caught the look and weighed it a moment before he replied.  “I should be very sorry to admit that a robust and well-disposed young man need ever despair.  If he doesn’t succeed in one thing, he can try another.  Only, I should add, he should choose his line with discretion.”

Serena’s Garden Passage

That was in May. Spring has now been undergone. The tulips have had their moment and are done, shedding their petals one by one, like teeth. One day I came upon Serena Joy, kneeling on a cushion in the garden, her cane beside her on the grass. She was snipping off the seed pods with a pair of shears. I watched her sideways as I went past, with my basket of oranges and lamb chops. She was aiming, positioning the blades of the shears, then cutting with a convulsive jerk of the hands. Was it the arthritis, creeping up? Or some blitzkrieg, some kamikaze, committed on the swelling genitalia of the flowers? The fruiting body. To cut off the seed pods is supposed to make the bulb store energy.

Saint Serena, on her knees, doing penance.

I often amused myself this way, with small mean-minded bitter jokes about her; but not for long. It doesn’t do to linger, watching Serena Joy, from behind.

What I coveted was the shears.

Well. Then we had the irises, rising beautiful and cool on their tall stalks, like blown glass, like pastel water momentarily frozen in a splash, light blue, light mauve, and the darker ones, velvet and purple, black cat’s-ears in the sun, indigo shadow, and the bleeding hearts, so female in shape it was a surprise they’d not long since been rooted out. There is something subversive about this garden of Serena’s, a sense of buried things bursting upwards, wordlessly, into the light, as if to point, to say: Whatever is silenced will clamour to be heard, though silently. A Tennyson garden, heavy with scent, languid; the return of the word swoon. Light pours down upon it from the sun, true, but also heat rises, from the flowers themselves, you can feel it: like holding your hand an inch above an arm, a shoulder. It breathes, in the warmth, breathing itself in. To walk through it in these days, of peonies, of pinks and carnations, makes my head swim.

The willow is in full plumage and is no help, with its insinuating whispers. Rendezvous, it says, terraces; the sibilants run up my spine, a shiver as if in fever. The summer dress rustles against the flesh of my thighs, the grass grows underfoot, at the edges of my eyes there are movements, in the branches; feathers, flittings, grace notes, tree into bird, metamorphosis run wild. Goddesses are possible now and the air suffuses with desire. Even the bricks of the house are softening, becoming tactile; if I leaned against them they’d be warm and yielding. It’s amazing what denial can do. Did the sight of my ankle make him lightheaded, faint, at the checkpoint yesterday, when I dropped my pass and let him pick it up for me? No handkerchief, no fan, I use what’s handy.

Winter is not so dangerous. I need hardness, cold, rigidity; not this heaviness, as if I’m a melon on a stem, this liquid ripeness.

The Handmaid’s Tale, chapter 25

Handmaid’s Tale Simile Perfect Paragraphs

Louise et Shaïneze Atwood uses chocking similes to show the violence of Gilead. For example, as Offred walks by the wall, Atwood illustrates her reaction thinking: « It makes the men look like dolls on wich faces have not yet been painted, like scarecrows, wich in a way is what they are, since they are meant to scare ». In this quote, Atwood shows us Offred’s reaction to the people changed on the wall like scarecrows. She compares the bodies to scarecrows because they are examples to scare people who would want to rebel against the government. 

Then, Atwood shows how Offred pictures herself after the shower: « I wait, washed, brushed like a price pig ». She compares Offred to a pig, an animal, because this is how the handmaids are treated, like animals. Atwood shows that in Gilead society, handmaids don’t have human clays many more and are used against their rights. 

Finally, as a last example, Atwood illustrates Offred’s mind after she put butter on her face like lotion « we are containers, it’s only the inside of our bodies that are important. The outside can become hard and wrinkled, for all they care, like the shell of a nut ». Again Atwood shows how handmaids are dehumanized for Gilead, handmaids condition does not matter. They are just containers for babies, so here handmaids are objectified. To conclude, the simile shows how violent the Gilead society is toward women. It doesn’t let them any liberty of speech or just simple freedom. 

Esther, Irenee, Victor Atwood uses shocking and similes to show the violence of Gilead.

First of all, in chapter 6, as Offred is looking at the wall and sees the hand man/women, she says: “ it makes the men look like dolls on which faces have not yet been painted […] like scarecrows, which in a way is what they are, since they are meant to scare.” There Atwood creates a really long sentence that creates an impact on the reader as he is used to short and descriptive phrases. The repetition of the word “fear” is also a shocking image that shares an emotion and creates an atmosphere. Second of all at the very beginning of the tale Offred compares The handmaid’s life to the army: “ Think of it as being in the army, said aunt Lydia.” This quote is proof for the violence of the Gilead Society (how they have no possessions and lost their identity for violent reasons). It also shows the strictness of this new society and the difficulty to accept it. Lastly, in chapter 13, Offred is comparing herself to a pig which is a degrading image: “ I wait, washed, brushed, fed like a prize pig.” This is shocking because it proves that she has some values to others (prize) but she still is a pig. It is vital in the way the society considers its members and how she just is the property of someone.

To conclude this all, The author utilizes lots of similes to create a sense of shock from the reader and to enhance how violent the Gilead society is.

Cesar and Pablo Atwood uses simile to illustrate the loss of identity. Take as an example when she describes the mirror when walking downstairs “like the eye of a fish, and myself in it like a distorted shadow.” From this quote we can deduce that the author is trying to outline how her personality is vanishing. It also resembles the little red riding hood tale in the way that she feels like a prey and that she is being watched. For the second quotation the writer depersonalizes the snowmen hanging on the wall by commenting how they all wear the same garments which were used to be worn by doctors and scientists and how the men cannot be distinguished from each other. Not only that but it also exemplifies how in Gilead people are differentiated by colours“The men wear white coats like those worn by doctors or scientists.”(pg.38) This leads to the next quotation which also talks about the snowmen and their lack of personality. In this case Atwood talks about the bags they wear resembling dolls in mid-production. “It makes the men look like dolls on which faces have not yet been painted; like scarecrows, which in a way it’s what they are, since they are meant to scare.” In this first simile she wipes out their personality by insinuating that they look like objects, ones which can’t be differed from each other. In the second simile Margaret compares the snowmen with scarecrows and their role which in this case is to scare rebels from revolting against Gilead’s norms.
Gatien, Holali Atwood uses simile to illustrate the loss of identity. First of all, Margaret Atwood established the concept of name and how they are erased. As for example in the quote:”I want to be held, and be told my name”. The Author explains how Offred wishes to recover a little bit of her identity. Just her name that hasn’t been said in years. It particularly shows how the Gilead Republic has dehumanized her. In addition, the sound -old which is a comforting and soft sound shows that she longs for the affection of others. In order to regain her identity. Another example is when Offred says:”I wait, washed, brushed, fed like a prize pig”. This simile is very important as it shows how the handmaid’s, and particularly Offred, feels about their place in the society. It is one of the first time that she is clearly considers her place as a very degrading state for a human being. Her loss of identity is even going further as she identifies herself as a pig, an animal that has no identity and no other purpose than to be held or offered as a gift. But at same time she is in the consideration of being a prize and is happy to be considered valuable. Finally for the last example, Atwood writes:”The men wear white coats like those wore by doctors or scientists”. In this example, the roles and identity of people are reduced to the color they wear. It shows how in the Gilead society people have social roles determined by their most basic condition and depending on that your “identity is decided among 5 or 6 choices 
Amandine & Clémence  Atwood uses shocking simile to show the violence of Gilead. For example, Atwood writes: 

« I wait, washed, brushed, like a prize pig. » (p. 75) This quote shows how the handmaids are treated like animals. They are used by society just for their body, Gilead does not care about their feelings. The fact that the author utilizes the expression “prize pig” also highlights that Offred has a kind of importance. This is ironic because the society tells her that she has value, but they treat her like an animal, even an object. 

Secondly, this other citation reveals an even more violent side of Gilead: 

« It makes the men look like dolls on which faces have not yet been painted, like scarecrows, which in a way is what they are, since they are meant to scare. » (p. 75) This sentence demonstrates that this society does not hesitate to sacrifice people to show others the example. Each person who does not follow all the rules will be killed. The executions are public, everyone can assist to it. Then the dead bodies are hanged on the Wall, so that everyone can see them. This is meant to discourage people from breaking the rules. 

Finally, in this example, the writer illustrates the brutality of the “arrest” of Offred and her family: 

« It was like being in an elevator cut loose at the top. Falling, falling, and not knowing when you will hit. » (p. 199) Here, the author uses this simile to show that the people who caught them were very hard, aggressive. Once more, they are treated like objects by the Gilead society, who does not pay any attention to what these people can feel, they just do what they are told to do. This is really shocking because Offred, her husband Luke and their daughter are just trying to escape from a world that wants to separate them and to take all their liberties, and they are arrested like criminals. 

The Gilead society is violent by its way of acting, but also by its ideas and its foundations. 

Lola et Owen In The Handmaid’s tale, Atwood uses simile to illustrate the loss of identity. Firstly, in Gilead government, Atwood uses the “taking-away names” technique to illustrate a loss of identity. For instance, in chapter fourteen “Your name is like a telephone number.” In this quote, the Handmaids are named with numbers, taking example on the Second World War where humans beings were considered like objects or slaves. That gives a slave dimension to the handmaids, who lost their identity as slaves.

Secondly, Atwood compares Offred to a piece of toast : “buttered, I lie on my single bed, flat like a piece of toast.” She has such a lack of freedom that she uses butter for facial products. She compares herself to a piece of toast on which we spread butter. 

Lastly, in page seventy five it is said that Offred compares herself as an animal : “I wait, washed, brushed like a prize pig.” Here, it is clear that Offred compares herself to a pig and dehumanizes herself. Animals and slaves have the same status : they are not human, which shows that Offred loses her human identity.

Humanization of Caliban

Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices,
That, if I then had wak’d after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me; that, when I wak’d
I cried to dream again.

How does Shakespeare humanize/show another side of Caliban?

Allegra and Capucine

In the Tempest, written by Shakespeare, he uses a number of humanizing devices to repaint Caliban’s image as an emotional and desireful person. In the beginning of his play Caliban, Prospero’s slave, is portrayed as being monstrous. In addition, he is dehumanized and penalized by many other characters. Being thought of as an emotionless creature, we are shown a different side of Caliban on page 93 line 127-135. Shakespeare emphasizes Caliban’s true nature through connotation, enjambment, and diction of emotion. At the end of Caliban’s monologue (line 135) he states “I cried to dream again.” This indicates that Caliban experiences real emotions such as sadness and sorrow. These feelings are amplified by the enjambment preceding this citation. Furthermore, Shakespeare humanized Caliban through a structure composed of verses. When a character speaks in verse, it highlights education, and nobility. Moreover, strong emotions can be seen in verses. Caliban speaks through verse to emphasise his true opinions. The diction of “sleep” and “dreams” both show more examples of Caliban’s sentiments; this highlights that he desires and has aspirations just like a human.. Shakespeare also writes “sweet”, “cried”, “delight” and “hurt” which are all adjectives of feelings, showing the audience that Caliban is now being humanized by Shakespeare. In conclusion, Shakespeare uses many literary techniques including connotations, enjambments, hyperboles, and diction to show that Caliban has evolved from being a “monsterous slave” to a strong human full of desires, aspirations, and sentiments.

Class Collaborative Essay


In Henry James’ novel Washington Square, James uses diction of fear, diction of time, and  interior monologue to reveal Catherine’s inner struggle for independence from her father.


Catherine struggles with independence and self-worth because of her father’s control over her mind. To help show this, Henry James uses the diction of fear and writes things such as: “Her eyes fixed upon her terrible plan”. The use of the word “terrible” shows how Dr Sloper has brainwashed her into thinking that every independent thought she has is bad. 

Other phrases like “her father had answered her, but she had not the courage to turn the latch” show how she is scared of her father and he clearly has authority over her. Her fear of her father is so deep, she cannot even open a door. This situation really shows how manipulative Sloper has been. Similarly, the quote “What she had said to her aunt was true enough she was afraid of him; I didn’t say that she had no sense of weakness she meant that she was not afraid of herself” shows how her aunt is more of a parental figure than her actual father– perhaps she is afraid to admit her true feelings to him. All of these examples of diction of fear show the reader that Sloper’s constant blaming and manipulation resulted in Catherine’s struggle to be independent. 


  James illustrates Catherine’s growing fear and excitement while waiting to confront her father through the diction and imagery of time.  James writes that Catherine: “sat there for more than an hour, lost in her meditations”. Catherine keeps thinking about how she can talk to her father. She is lost in her mind, preparing what to say due to her father’s unpredictable behavior. The word “meditation” suggests, however, a calm, positive reflection and growth. There is, therefore, a contrast in her emotions, she is both stressed and also at peace with the promises of her encounter with Dr Sloper. All this thinking makes her reflect and the time flies as we can see in the image: “the evening advanced, and the lamp burned dim without her noticing it”. The fact that the lamp’s burning goes unnoticed is a metaphor for how absorbed Catherine is in her thoughts. Similarly, James writes “At last the clock struck eleven, and the house was wrapped in silence” to show how the hours pass quickly, referring once again to the diction of time. The image of the house “wrapped in silence” indicates that Catherine still does not know what to say, she still hasn’t made up her mind. Furthermore, “wrapped in silence” refers to the senses, and also alludes to Catherine’s fear towards approaching her father. Finally, the quote “Catherine got up and went slowly to the door of the library, where she waited a moment, motionless” shows that Catherine is making up her mind to talk to her father. The way that she takes a lot of time and does things slowly lets the reader imagine that she is scared to approach him. Diction of time is represented in the words “waited a moment” and “went slowly”.


While on the outside Catherine seems to be calm and simple, interior monologue reveals the complex psychological conflict she experiences. For example, James writes: She had an immense respect for her father, and she felt that to displease him would be a misdemeanour analogous to an act of profanity in a great temple; but her purpose had slowly ripened, and she believed that her prayers had purified it of its violence.” This quote proves how much influence Dr. Sloper has over his daughter. The fact that she compares disappointing Dr. Sloper to a crime, shows how concerned she is about his acceptance, and validation. Here, the punctuation is predominant, there are a lot of commas which extend the sentence, this also shows that she is second guessing her decisions and starting to think for herself and gain independence. Secondly, another quote that illustrates interior monologue is “She did not resent the imputation of weakness; it made no impression on her, for she had not the sense of weakness, and she was not hurt at not being appreciated.” This shows though she is mentally strong, Catherine is ignorant to others’ perspective, which completely contradicts the beginning of the book. The repetition of “no” and ”not” is part of a diction of negativity. Catherine was very affected by her fathers opinion. But these repeated negations show how she rejects Sloper’s thoughts of her, due to how he handled Morris. Finally, the repetition of “she” in the paragraph reinforces how we are seeing Catherine’s vision through the narrator’s 3rd person perspective.  James demonstrates Catherine’s psychological transformation and growing coming of age.



Re-write of mini-thesis: