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The Handmaid’s Tale introduced me to a world of unknown words and, uncharted nameless questions that rushed me to believe this novel lets us follow Offred through her daily life, but sometimes she begins to slip away and we see things from her past;  flashbacks, though it seems. Those “flashbacks” are the most confusing part, especially when they occur because the perspective takes a hard left, right into past tense lane. Chapter one starts out as a flashback and then chapter two flips right back to the present. Chapters two, three, and even the next few chapters too, go on to explain all physical features, locations, and it acclimates the readers to begin to understand the style of the authors writing. Going back to chapter two, I found that it was easy to compare the setting of Offred’s room to “The Stanford Prison Experiment.” Neither have mirrors nor clocks, although the women, later to be known as Handmaids, have noticed a few mirrors lingering in the halls and the only resemblance to a clock that they have is a bell “…that measures time in ringing,” (Page 8). I find it very interesting that Offred refuses to use the term “my”… “The door of the room- not my room, I Coffey 2refuse to say my- is not locked,” (Page 8). I wonder why she chooses to eliminate that action. I also draw confusion from that, although if I look at things from her perspective she is talked about as property of someone, not a somebody. She obviously misses her old life and is still holding on to a billion thoughts and memories that she can remember about the people she loved, which she tells us or the readers about each one while she daydreams, and that is probably keeping her from saying “my” to a place that doesn’t respect the real her. This is a common theme through most of the first third of the book: Once someone gives up on their old life the new life wins. Offred refuses to let the “new life”/ the wives/ Aunt Lydia win. I find it very odd that even after reading through chapter 16 the author does not flat out say what each of the characters roles are throughout the book. Although, there are lots of clues and hints throughout each chapter that have helped me come up with the conclusion that a handmaid’s job is to provide babies for their commander since none of the wives are able to. In chapter 16 it vividly describes how the Handmaid, Offred, the wife, and the commander are all positioned for the whole purpose of Offred being there. I was very surprised to read all of the imagery the author included, it was quite disturbing. For example, “Below it the Commander is fucking. What he is fucking is the lower part of my body. I do not say making love, because this is not what he’s doing…  and the Commander fucks, with a regular twofour marching stroke, on and on like a tap dripping… waiting for himself to come, drumming his fingers on the table while he waits. There’s an impatience in his rhythm now. But isn’t this everyone’s wet Coffey 3dream, two women at once? They used to say that. Exciting, they used to say… If he were better looking would I enjoy this more?… He comes at last, with a  stifled groan as of relief. Serena Joy, who has been holding her breath, expels it. The Commander, who has been propping himself on his elbows, away from our combined bodies, doesn’t permit himself to sink down into us. He rests a moment, withdraws, recedes, rezippers…  the juice of the Commander runs down my legs,” (pages 93-95). In the beginning of The Handmaid’s Tale it didn’t quite make complete and total since, but now that I am ? of the way through it, I am starting to grasp more and more information. So far I find this book very intriguing. I want to know how everything got to be the way it is, and why it is this way. I have found myself not being able to stop reading until I have found at least one answer to my heaping list of questions. 2.  a. “… and there it was, in tiny writing, quite fresh it seemed, scratched with a pin or maybe just a fingernail, in the corner where the darkest shadow fell: Nolite te bastardes carborundorum,” (page 52). Offred was searching her room for anything. She knew someone lived in there before her so she decided to “explore”. Shortly after, she finds words carved into the wall in, what she thinks is, Latin. She then starts to ask Rita some questions while trying not to sound suspicious. I decided to look up what this phrase or sentences meaning was since it hasn’t yet been revealed throughout the book… Do not let the bastards grind you down. This quote doesn’t seem to have much significance yet in the book, but after reading the English version of the Latin words, that is what is going to get Offred through the next few years she has to be present Coffey 4with anyone like the wives, the commanders, the Angels, or anyone else who gives her the least bit of trouble. b. L2: Why did Margaret Atwood decide to add the Latin words carved onto the wall into the novel instead of a Spanish phrase? L3: What would Offred be willing to do with this information that she holds? c. The finding of these carved Latin words on the wall seem to be about the thought that Offred has a “friend” now. She has a way of breaking the rules and writing back to this mystery person. It gives Offred the feeling of control, but this passage is truly about how Offred can now hang onto some kind of hope, even though she has no idea the meaning of these such words. These words boosted her strength by 1000. If there is one thing left behind what if there is others? Offred will be kept occupied searching for answers which will help her become distracted from her commander and she will stop deteriorating piece by piece each day. The process with begin to slow down and hopefully this will help Offred keep herself together and find what she wants, her daughter.

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