Margaret Atwood Writing Styles in The Handmaid's Tale

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Narration

The events in this novel take place at different points in the life of the narrator, but the primary setting, the present tense of the novel, is Gilead, where she has been a handmaid in the Commander's house for five weeks. The reader is introduced to new characters that she meets from this point forward, such as the doctor and the new Ofglen, while others that she is already familiar with-Rita and Cora for example-are taken for granted and woven into the narration without explanation.

Because the narrator's life had been designed by the government to be uneventful and to not require independent thought, the tone of the novel is drab, flat, desensitized. Information about how her life came to be this way is conveyed through flashbacks, most of them drawn from two sections of time in her past: her memories of the Rachel and Leah Re-education Center...

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This section contains 1,045 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Handmaid's Tale Study Guide
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The Handmaid's Tale from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.