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Instructions and Writing Prompt:
For this assignment, your task is to complete an analysis of the novel The Handmaid’s Tale using one of the three prompts below. This means that you will need to make an argument/construct a thesis statement and support it with textual evidence from the novel and outside sources when appropriate to your claim. Feel free to use any research/source material in writing this essay; you may want to find out about the author’s biography or background or what other scholars are saying about the text. You need to cite and properly document and information that is not your own. Be careful to follow the writing prompt below, avoid summarizing the plot; instead focus on the specific claim you intend to make. Your paper will be at minimum THREE PAGES, DOUBLE SPACED, MLA FORMAT WITH PARENTHETICAL CITATIONS AND A WORKS CITED PAGE.
Option 1: Many works of literature, including The Handmaid’s Tale, deal with political or social issues. Write an essay in which you analyze how The Handmaid’s Tale uses literary elements to explore political and social issues.
Option 2: Throughout The Handmaid’s Tale Offred considers the multiple meanings and connotations of specific words. What might Atwood be suggesting about the flexibility or lack of specificity of language? What does this obsession with words convey about Offred’s character or situation?
Option 3: Explore one or more of the themes and motifs in The Handmaid’s Tale:
Identity— No one is referred to by their real name in The Handmaid’s Tale, but their identities have been stripped in many other ways as well. Women are grouped into classes, and the body, especially a fertile female’s body, is more important than one’s personality and mind are.
Femininity— Women are repressed and forbidden from working outside the home, reading, and spending money. Their minds are denied, their bodies concealed, and the few fertile women are used as empty childbearing vessels.
Love— Many of the characters’ past connections and relationships have been cut off; strong emotions, such as love, have become just memories that are recalled in fleeting moments. Even when characters do have feelings for each other, they try to repress these emotions.
Freedom and Confinement—Pretty much everyone in the novel leads a restricted life, but the handmaids are the most confined—rarely permitted to leave their bedrooms and trapped by both their low social status and their fertility. If they do get pregnant, likely by men they do not love, they become trapped in a different way as they are forced to give birth to children they are not allowed to keep.


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