Links between LITTOC and the HT brainstormed in class

Social Status: The hierarchy in the HT — Love in the Time of Cholera there is also a question of status for instance, Florentino manages to change his social status (motivated by his love for Fermina), and Fermina improves her status through marriage

 

Sex used as an escape or as a form of power

HT: Offred sees the possibility of using her body with the doctor, the guards, the commander, and Nick

LITTOC: Florentino to fill the emptiness of not having Fermina or perhaps other psychological issues and justifies it as “love”

 

Revealing the sexist structures of society and promoting feminism / decrying patriarchy

HT: women are used as objects/property – they can’t own anything and are “objects of procreation” , women cannot have control over their own money and are made property

LITTOC: viewed as “prey”, Fermina’s frustration in her marriage — “servitude” , Fermina is like the “property” of Urbino/doesn’t make her own choices

both use “irony” — Serena’s position in society anti-career

Use of flower imagery

HT: flowers represent fertility — Serena’s garden and her cutting of the flowers

LITTOC: Fermina wears flower representing  purity

 

Manipulation

HT: brainwashed society, sometimes a survival mechanism to manipulate others

LITTOC: Fermina is constantly manipulated by one man or another

 

Power of words

HT: not allowed to use words and write, Offred is sensitive to words, her narration is also like letter or a journal in a way — very personal , but she does speak to some sort of audience

LITTOC: letters, Florentino’s sensitive to poetry– uses this to manipulate women and continue his illusions of love

 

Deterioration and transformation of society

HT: new society

LITTOC: author tries to denounce colonisation/

 

Violence

HT: physical violence, mental violence

LITTOC: sexual abuse, “predator”

 

Projection of feelings onto nature

HT: Offred often talks about flowers and seasons to portray her feelings/her environment

LITTOC: world deteriorating, etc

 

Use of foreshadowing/suspense–non chronological narrative

HT: euphemism

 

 

 

 

Perfect Paragraph practice continued / student examples

Jimena

Martin

Capucine

Tanguy

 

Louis

 

Brune

————

 

Thelmina

In Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood creates a contrast between Offred’s colorful , emotional past and her dark, passive present. These shifts reveal her ability to alternate back and forth between a numb “survival mode” and her thriving interior identity. For example, while Offred is observing Serena outside, her memories come flooding back: “I once had a garden, I can remember the smell of the plump shapes of bulbs, held in the hands, coolness, the dry rustle of seeds through the fingers…time could past more swiftly that way.” The senses are active in this passage, through images such as the “smell of…bulbs” and the “dry rustle of seeds through the fingers.” It is as if her body remembers and longs for her past, which is brought to life through her detailed description of this flashback. Similarly, Offred creates a tone of nostalgia as she enters the kitchen: “The kitchen smells of yeast, a nostalgic smell. It reminds me of other kitchens, kitchens that were mine. It smells of mothers; although my own mother did not make bread. It smells of me, in former times, when I was a mother.” Once again, the sense of smell engages the past self she keeps inside, it even goes as far as helping her to realize that she once had a mother and once was a mother–something that should be obvious to her, but she has clearly kept hidden in her mind. Her longing for the past is reinforced by a diction of nostalgia that is present in words such as “nostalgic,” “reminds,” and “former times.” All of these elements contribute to an emotional, precise vision of her past, and her nostalgic description of each of these flashbacks illustrate the gap between the freedom of her past and the enslaving present.

Her enslaving present is, in fact, described in a totally different way than her past. It is described in an extremely nonemotional way which illustrates this “survival mode” she needs to be in as she lives with the Gilead Society. One of the characteristics of this “survival mode” is the way she lists every object surrounding her as if she needs to know what object she could use in case of emergency. For example, as she describes her bedroom she also enumerates every object she “possesses” ” A chair, a table, a lamp. Above on the white ceiling, a relief ornament in the shape of a wreath, and in the center of it a blank space, plastered over, like the place in the face where the eye had been taken out. There must have been a chandelier once. They removed anything you could tie a rope to.”. This very robotic way of speaking comes in a total opposition to her description of the past. The punctuation perfectly highlights that shift in her mood as she talks about the present which, coupled with the enumeration of objects, demonstrates how she has to act as she lives as a handmaid but also how she repeals all her feelings to be focused on what could happen around her. Even on her walks to go shopping, she still describes her surroundings in a very precise way which practically makes the reader feel like it’s a report : “The wall is hundreds of years old too; or over a hundred, at least. Like the sidewalks, it’s red brick, must have been plain but handsome. Now the gates have sentries and there are ugly new floodlights mounted on mental posts above it, and barred wire along the bottom and broken glass set in the concrete along the top.”. In this quote, Offred gives more historical indications on, for example, the age of the wall but also on the new constructions. This knowledge in every change that occured in her surroundings could be another characteristic of her “survival mode”. In fact, it shows how careful she needs to be with this society and how each detail could help her to escape her position and this society or at least stay alive and carry on her memories. 

Perf paragraph outline: tone in The Handmaid’s Tale (written together in class)

Question: How does the tone of Margaret Atwood’s novel show Offred’s state of mind?

Thesis Statement:

In Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood creates a contrast between Offred’s colorful , emotional past and her dark, passive present. These shifts reveal her ability to alternate back and forth between a numb “survival mode” and her interior identity.

a) “I once had a garden, I can remember the smell of the plump shapes of bulbs, held in the hands, coolness, the dry rustle of seeds through the fingers…time could past more swiftly that way”

b)” The kitchen smells of yeast, a nostalgic smell. It reminds me of other kitchens, kitchens that were mine. It smells of mothers; although my own mother did not make bread. It smells of me, in former times, when I was a mother”

c) ” A chair, a table, a lamp. Above on the white ceiling, a relief ornament in the shape of a wreath, and in the center of it a blank space, plastered over, like the place in the face where the eye had been taken out. There must have been a chandelier once. They removed anything you could tie a rope to.”

d) “The wall is hundreds of years old too; or over a hundred, at least. Like the sidewalks, it’s red brick, must have been plain but handsome. Now the gates have sentries and there are ugly new floodlights mounted on mental posts above it, and barred wire along the bottom and broken glass set in the concrete along the top.”

 

 

Transformation of outline into a coherent paragraph:

In Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood creates a contrast between Offred’s colorful , emotional past and her dark, passive present. These shifts reveal her ability to alternate back and forth between a numb “survival mode” and her thriving interior identity. For example, while Offred is observing Serena outside, her memories come flooding back: “I once had a garden, I can remember the smell of the plump shapes of bulbs, held in the hands, coolness, the dry rustle of seeds through the fingers…time could past more swiftly that way.” The senses are active in this passage, through images such as the “smell of…bulbs” and the “dry rustle of seeds through the fingers.” It is as if her body remembers and longs for her past, which is brought to life through her detailed description of this flashback. Similarly, Offred creates a tone of nostalgia as she enters the kitchen: “The kitchen smells of yeast, a nostalgic smell. It reminds me of other kitchens, kitchens that were mine. It smells of mothers; although my own mother did not make bread. It smells of me, in former times, when I was a mother.” Once again, the sense of smell engages the past self she keeps inside, it even goes as far as helping her to realize that she once had a mother and once was a mother–something that should be obvious to her, but she has clearly kept hidden in her mind. Her longing for the past is reinforced by a diction of nostalgia that is present in words such as “nostalgic,” “reminds,” and “former times.” All of these elements contribute to an emotional, precise vision of her past, and her nostalgic description of each of these flashbacks illustrate the gap between the freedom of her past and the enslaving present.

c) ” A chair, a table, a lamp. Above on the white ceiling, a relief ornament in the shape of a wreath, and in the center of it a blank space, plastered over, like the place in the face where the eye had been taken out. There must have been a chandelier once. They removed anything you could tie a rope to.”

d) “The wall is hundreds of years old too; or over a hundred, at least. Like the sidewalks, it’s red brick, must have been plain but handsome. Now the gates have sentries and there are ugly new floodlights mounted on mental posts above it, and barred wire along the bottom and broken glass set in the concrete along the top.”