The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

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28 ‘To be seen – to be seen – is to be – her voice trembled – penetrated.’ – Aunt Lydia’s absurd equation of being looked at by a man with rape can be paralleled with some of the more extreme dress codes found in the Islamic world, where similar ideas are occasionally voiced. The irony is that Aunt Lydia’s Handmaids are being trained up precisely to be ‘penetrated’.

28 ‘She called us girls.’ – restating the ‘regression to girlhood’ theme.

Chapter Six

29 ‘in the sky there are white fluffy clouds, the kind that look like headless sheep.’ – A rather grim, if humorous, trope, not unlike T.S. Eliot’s ‘evening [...] like a patient etherised upon a table’ from The Love-Song of J. Alfred Prufrock .

30 ‘Inside it you can see paintings, of women in long sombre dresses, their hair covered by white caps.’ – The Gilead regime draws attention to America’s original Puritan foundation and would like society to return to a similar set of values. The women in the paintings physically resemble the handmaids in th

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the Unkindness of Ravens If you have found our critical notes helpful, why not try the first Tower Notes novel, a historical fantasy set in the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasions.

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