Group Analysis of the Imagery, Symbolism, Figurative Language, Ironic Devices and more for "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood.

Essay by vampirek87High School, 12th gradeA+, December 2005

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Imagery: Throughout the novel, "The Handmaid's Tale", Margaret Atwood presents an astonishing amount of vivid imagery and description that makes up the style and flow of the novel. Perhaps the first images present in the novel are that of light and dark. Listed in the table of contents, the reader can see that nearly every other section is entitled Night. Night is usually associated with darkness and fear, although to Offred this connotation is only half true. It seems that only in the dark can the characters of the novel move around and be "free" without the fear of being caught. It's in the darkness of her room that Offred remembers her life prior to the Gilead regime, often recalling her old friends and family members such as Moira, Luke, Offred's daughter and even her mother. Offred tends to bring up Moira more than any other character during these nostalgic glimpses because she was the most rebellious.

An example of her conflict with the Gilead regime is subtly stated prior to the regime itself when Offred mentions that Moira is a lesbian: "she'd decided to prefer woman" (222). The fact that Moira is a lesbian is a huge problem against the Gilead government considering that their purpose is to enforce male and female relations. This type of information would have to be expressed by the cover of night because of its obvious conflict. Additionally, forbidden meetings between Offred and the Commander are even organized under the cover of night. A relationship between Offred and Nick are even sparked at night. On one occasion their longing for each other is apparent in just a glance: "Down there on the lawn...Nick. We look at each other. I have no rose to toss, he has no lute. But it's the same kind of...