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Alexandra Eicher The Handmaids Tale by Margret Atwood Study Questions 1. Who is the speaker? 2.

What is the purpose of the first chapter? What does the style of writing say about the speakers environment, living conditions, and emotions? 3. What is suggested by the fact that the immediate supervisors of the girls are women but these women are not allowed guns? What is suggested by the fact that the girls have to read lips to learn each others' names? 4. What is suggested by the fact that the narrator observes "they've removed anything you could tie a rope to?" 5. What is implied by the sentence, "Nothing takes place in the bed but sleep; or no sleep? 6. Identify and describe the roles of the major characters. 7. How do the names of Handmaids seem to be formed? 8. Can you guess at the function of the black-painted vans? What power does Offred have over men, powerless as she is? 9. Has the elimination of pornography stopped women from being regarded as sex objects? 10. How does Offred describe the room she sleeps in? Why does she describe her situation in terms of being in an army ofr being in a nunnery? 11. Why does the color red define Offred? 12. I hunger to commit the act of touch. How does this relate to Equalitys transgressions in Anthem? 13. Who is Luke? 14. What is the function of the Wall? Why have the doctors been executed? 15. How are the Japanese women different from the women of Gilead? What modern societies does this situation remind you of? 16. Why are the Wives kept busy with knitting and tending to their garden? Why is Offred a necessity for the Commanders Wife. 17. Describe the way Offreds narrative uses the past tense. 18. What does Offreds account of the first time she met the Commanders Wife reveal about the society and the social circles in which they live? 19. What is Scriptural precedent? 20. What is "Gender Treachery?" How is this related to certain religious and political ideals in our society? What is the author trying to point out? 21. Why does Offred envy Rita her access to the knife? 22. Why is Offred startled at the end of the chapter when she realizes she has called the room "mine"? 23. What do we learn about the Handmaid system during the scene at the doctor's office? 24. What associations are aroused by the tattoo on Offred's ankle? 25. Why is the reader never told Offreds real name? 26. Describe the events of the Ceremony. What is its purpose? How does the Bible story relate to the ethics of the community? 27. What is represented by Offreds first act of defiance? What does she do? What happens? What is her reaction to Nicks coming to fetch her? 28. What experience leads Offred to change her opinion of the Commander and his Wife? Why is the Ceremony awkward for Offred now? 29. Describe the birthing of Janines baby. Describe the role the Wife play during the birthing. 30. How had Offred come to appreciate the Commander and her time with him? How is she more than just empty? 31. Why would a totalitarian dictatorship prefer computer banking to paper money? 32. Why was Offred afraid to ask Luke how he really felt about her losing her job? 33. How is this story written in a stream of consciousness form? How does this contribute to the overall feel of the novel? 34. Who is Offred speaking to? She claims that this is a reconstruction. All of it is a reconstruction. What does this reveal about when Offred is recounting her life? 35. What are the Soul Scrolls? What do they represent? What are their purpose? 36. What has changed about the holidays the Fourth of July and Labor Day? 37. How can you tell Offred is becoming more comfortable around the Commander? Why is she still cautious? 38. What is the Commander's rationale for the existence of places like Jezebel's? How does he misunderstand when Offred asks him "Who are these people?" 39. Why does Offred feel she has to make up stories about what happened between herself and Nick? 40. Why are the crimes not described at "Salvagings"? Why does Ofglen attack the "rapist" so fiercely?

41. Why does Offred tell her new companion that she met the former Ofglen in May? 42. How does Nick reassure Offred when the black van comes? How is the ending ambiguous?

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