Imagery In The Handmaid's Tale

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In face of severe situation, people often feel relief when they think of happier, simpler times in order to alleviate the severity. In the fiction novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, written by Margaret Atwood, a theocracy government controls every aspect of life in order to produce the best result of its plans. At the beginning of chapter 12, Offred takes a required, but luxurious bath because she can take off the burdensome wings and veils. While she bathes, Offred remembers her daughter from the past and a time with her family. Atwood compares Offred’s past and present through imagery, tone, similes, and symbolism combined with parallel structure to highlight the vulnerability of women to their surroundings. Atwood describes the bathroom an area of vulnerability for the handmaids to emphasize their weakness. Repetition of “blue” (81) creates a cold atmosphere that is not suitable for the handmaids, who are represented by red, the color of warmth. Atwood demonstrates the disapproval of handmaids as a function of the government. The description of the bathroom provides setting that seems complete, but lacks a central component, a “mirror” (81). A mirror reflects the …show more content…

She describes her body with imperfect diction, such as “strange”, “outdated”, “shameful”, and “immodest” (82). Atwood has such a critical tone towards body image to expose the high standard of beauty and how the standard forces people to feel about their own body. Such image of oneself compared to the standard allows people to feel imperfect and incompetent and prohibits beauty to surface. Atwood uses parallelism in “without thought...without care” (82) to emphasize the past’s carelessness of exposure. Atwood compares the past’s exposure to the present’s concealment to differentiate the effects of each. Atwood criticizes the societal expectation of beauty that makes everyone vulnerable to pressure and

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