Margaret Atwood 's The Handmaid 's Tale Essay examples

Margaret Atwood 's The Handmaid 's Tale Essay examples

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When first reading Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, it is easy to dismiss the scene where Serena Joy proposes the arrangement between Offred and Nick. The scene does not seem so important because Offred would have had the affair with Nick later in the novel anyway. However, this scene is critical to the novel because it furthers the plot and sets up for an emotional and thematic end.
This scene is very important because it furthers the plot. Firstly, Offred sees Serena Joy on her way back to the house from her shopping trip with Ofglen. She tries to “glide by her, hoping to be invisible, knowing [she’ll] be ignored”. However, she is not. This is the first clue Atwood gives to show that this scene is something out of the ordinary. Then, after Serena Joy has called her over and sat her down, Serena Joy winds the wool around Offred’s hands. Offred notes that the wool is “like a wetted baby blanket”. This phrase foreshadows the conversation that Serena Joy soon starts regarding Offred’s methods of conception. Serena Joy asks Offred “not yet?” and Offred notes that the two have nothing in common “except for this one mysterious and chancy thing”. This phrase is foreshadowing the conversation to come where Serena Joy offers the idea of an arrangement with Nick, taking the mystery and chance out of the equation of conception. When Offred answers that she is not yet pregnant, Serena Joy mentions that the Commander might be sterile. This moves the plot further. By telling Offred this, Serena has taken a large risk. Offred can report her to an Eye or tell the Commander. She shows Offred that she is willing to trust her, which makes Offred more willing to listen to her proposal. When Offred agrees, she is taking a large risk as well, a...


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... has had knowledge of this picture for a while but she saved it for use for personal gain. She shows that she has the power to give and to hold back. She shows this power again when she gives Offred a cigarette. This shows again the power difference between the two women.
After considering these other aspects of the scene, it becomes clear that the arrangement isn’t the most important idea Atwood is trying to convey through this scene. She uses this extremely important scene to further the plot, set up the characters for a more emotional end, and reinforce various themes to bring about a more thematic end. The second to last scene of Margaret Atwood’s novel, where Offred gets captured, is a whirlwind of emotion and much confusion for the characters in the novel and for the readers. By using such seemingly small scenes, Margaret Atwood builds such a powerful ending.

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