by Margaret Atwood. (31st printing, NY: Fawcett Crest Book, Ballantine 1985)
1. Target of Atwoods's Satire: The Nation's (Men's) Control and Her stories, Distopia and the present world
2. Intertextuality & Language: Atwood's use of fairy-tales, (or generic elements of history, science fiction, etc.) & child's desire /language
Issues for further discussion:
-- Three epigraphs: Genesis, Swift's "Modest Proposal" and a Sufi proverb ("In the desert there is no sign that says, Thou shalt not eat stones" --lack of resources).* relativity of power:
we watch him 113;(Cf. "The Gap Betwen Official History and Women's Histories: Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale" Magali Cornier Michael)
& family structure
|-- classes of men and women; surrogate motherhood
|women's complicity & rebellion||the mother's separatism 154-57; Moira's chap 28;
"falling" in love292
women's collusion'p. 233 (self-interest)
burning "bad rubbish" (51) -implying separatist, or radical, feminism's censorship of pornography 50-51
networking 261-62 lunch
|control of women: e.g. Prayvaganza 277 -
Birth- chap 21; Women's culture 164; 209; a spirit of comaderie of women 287 <-->
women's mutual hatred and jealousy 13, 17; 63; 64; 351;
fear and suspicion 24; Eyes everywhere 38; the doctor episode chap 11;
|(economic) control through technologies; environmental issues||non-liquid money, computer network||economic structures: e.g. credit card'Compubank (231); laws against women's holding property, jobs (224),|
|freedom as either/or concepts||freedom to --rules 32;
the Commander's criticism 273
freedom from rape and abuse (32-33);
|space||old dorm 41||her room 4, the barriers, the Wife's room, the kitchen; Wives only in cars 32|
|control of thought and desire||Son of Jacob Think Tank 388; control thought system 10; 25; no bounds 31; 38; 45; 85; no university, no lawyer, no gym;|
|religious control||--Eye of God, Angel, Guardian of Faith
--Bible, kept locked up 112
--Soul Scrolls 215-17
|subjectivity||imaginary identity 67||no names, only roles and signs 33;
not on newspapers, live in the gaps between 74;
body as the central object 95; a blank, like a parenthesis, in waiting295
|(names of the store in Gilead: Milk and Honey, All Flesh, Lilies; Red
Center, the Wall, Birth Center; rituals: Salvaging, Prayvaganza (285),
subjects: Serena Joy 60-61)
Michael: p. 144 "a feminist version of freedom cannot be an either/or choice between "freedom to" and "freedom from."
University of "Denay¡§("deny¡§; native group in The Northwest Territories); Canada criticized.
Explains the source of the tale (30 something tapes), their inability to identify Offred, the Gilead¡¦s ways of arresting women and possible reasons for infertility.
Similarities between Pre-Gilead period and Gilead period: birth services; polygamy, totalitarianism (e.g. KGB) p. 386- 87
Gender structure unchanged:
Professor Pieixoto flirting with Crescent Moon ¡V"enjoy" her;
"Underground Femaleroad" --> "The Underground Frailroad" 381
His distrust of the narrator.
"Our job is not to censure, but to understand." 383
the other concepts: androgyny, gender stereotyping, homophobia, the Cult of true Womanhood, pornography, rape, etc.
"We watch him, every inch, every flicker" 113
power to forgive, temptation to forgive 174
mother and daughter relationships--on her daughter 52; 139; her with ice-cream 213; 82; her mother 152-54;
on words'"chair" 140; "job" 224; body marked with J 259;
--hatred "no longer pure and simple" 207
Intertextuality: Bible, The Little Red Riding Hood, p. 11; garden p. 16; red tulips 44;
Scarlet Letter, etc.
Biblical Allusions ¡V
Martha, devoted herself to housework while her sister Mary sat and listened to Jesus.(Kathleen E.B. Manley TA 135) the use of folkore'as product (e.g. a traditional house described; often to provide verisimilitude) , situation (context; e.g. storytelling or building of a traditional house included), medium (the language or style used)
fairy-tale elements'fragments reconstructed,
the garden, the wolf, the grandmother, the Little Red Riding Hood. "In the novel she explores the relationship of character traits to flowers to the subtext of sensuality she sees in the original tale" (TA 137, Cf Sharon Wilson for discussion of the connection between flowers and sensuality.)
e.g. after the 1st ceremony
the film --
Stein,Karen F. Margaret Atwood revisited. New York : Twayne Publishers, c1999.
Wilson, Sharon Rose, Thomas B. Friedman; Shannon. Hengen. Approaches to teaching Atwood's The handmaid's tale and other works. New York : Modern Language Association of America, 1996.