Themes and quotes in The Handmaid's Tale Part 1

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  • The Handmaid's Tale
    • Language as a tool of power
      • no names =  power helping Gilead maintain control over women's body
        • "Offred...Ofglen"
    • Complacancy
      • Offred becomes complacent after her relationship with Nick begins allowing her to gain the slightest fragment of her former self. The physical affection makes her life in Gilead bearable.
        • "truly amazing, what people can get used to, as long as there are a few compensations."
    • Memories
      • Offred's flashbacks represent the needs which Atwood implies are basic human needs can not be satisfied in the present.
      • The people mentioned in Offred's narration and flashbacks represent the basic needs that aren't being satisfied
        • Moira = friendship
        • Luke = love and affection
        • Daughter = children
        • Offred's mother = family
    • Oppression
      • Offred's deprivation of love in the Gileaden society has repressed her spirit
        • "no one dies from lack of's lack of love we die from"
      • Atwood implies that the degree of oppression Janine has faced in order to become as submissive as she is.
        • "Janine was like a puppy kicked too often"
      • In order for Handmaid's to be happy in the new society they must get used to the oppressive regime
        • "This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time, it will. It will become ordinary"


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