What Impact Does The Structure Of Chapters 1 12 Have On

2050 words - 8 pages

What impact does the structure of chapters 1-12 have on our understanding of character and themes in The Handmaid's Tale By looking at the structure of the novel throughout chapters 1-12, I can begin to understand the roles of the characters and the impressions they leave on readers. As I read about Offred the narrator of the novel, I begin to understand that throughout the novel she feels isolated and scared, but she manages to survive in the present as she has a sense of double vision, she is a survivor from the past and her power to remember the past and her longing to reunite with her daughter enables her to survive. Her flashbacks of the past help her to escape the feelings of isolation, loneliness and boredom for when she sits in her room with nothing to do. Offred comes across as an untrusting person as she does not trust the reader with her real name due to the precarious situation she has been placed within the society.Offred can be described as a curious, observant character as she notices physical details in her surroundings. This can be seen in chapter 2 where she inspects her room slowly and even manages to see the faint writing in the darkest corner left behind by the previous handmaid. It can also be seen by her very lyrical response to the Commander's Wife's garden when she observes its seasonal changes closely as she sees the garden as a source of beauty not denied by the society's regime. Offred also seems to use the garden as a silent testimonial to her own resistance.Offred puts across her attitude of being discreetly subversive but not openly rebellious as she gets satisfaction from teasing the young guard at the gate as she passes through to go shopping with Ofglen from chapter 4, "'I enjoy the power; power of a dog bone, passive but there". This gives the impression to the reader that Offred is mischievous but that she yearns for communication and trust between people instead of suspicion and isolation which the society has placed upon them. From her flashbacks of Luke, we realise she feels a sense of loneliness in her life which is enhanced when she and the Commander use familiar social and sexual codes from the old society when she meets him privately.Offred comes across as a lively person when she plays scrabble with the Commander and this is the first time in the novel when she laughs revealing a reawakening of her own high spirits. She is a highly self conscious narrator as she accuses herself of cowardice and unreliability but we see her as a woman of high integrity as she survives with dignity and embraces the possibility of her escape with hope.Moira is a strong character within the novel who provides an impression of female heroism although seen as a rebellious figure by the Gileadian society as she escapes by stealing the uniform of an aunt. Moira provides humour and irony to the reader as can be seen when they are in the centre where she represents a role model to the other handmaid's who want to rebel but don't...

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