Role of Offred's Room in a Handmaid's Tale Essay

1486 Words Feb 4th, 2009 6 Pages
In the novel A Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood uses different descriptions of Offred’s room to illustrate the government’s control over her and her role in the society. She uses the room to allude to her situation almost because she is unable to explicitly state her discontent with her current conditions. Firstly, the author uses many similes, symbols and short sentence structures to emphasise the oppression and the totality of the control that the government has over Offred. She uses different objects in the room to symbolise Offred’s situation. While exploring her room, the narrator notices that “on the white ceiling… [there is] a blank space, plastered over, like the place in a face where the eye has been taken out.” (9) She …show more content…
As she describes the house, she remarks that “time here is measured by bells, as once in nunneries. As in a nunnery too, there are few mirrors.” (10) Offred lives similarly to a nun in the sense that she is restricted physically and mentally: there are few things that she is allowed to do, she is deprived of the most basic freedom. However, it is ironic that she should compare her setting to a nunnery because her job, namely to undergo the ceremony, would be regarded as a profanity and sacrilege. The narrator also notices that “there isn’t much music in [the] house” (74) Music is a form of expression; it is a means by which one can express their feelings and emotions. A lack of music is thus a lack of expression. The narrator emphasises this by using a short simple declarative sentence: “there isn’t much music in the house”. This plain sentence itself, as opposed to being elaborative, stresses the oppression resulting from the lack of freedom to communicate. The author expresses Offred’s lack of personal identity through the use of repetitions. When observing her room, the narrator asks if “each of [the handmaids] has the same print, the same chair [and] the same white curtains.” (12) This line points out the possibility that everything that handmaids use is standardized. The repetition of the word “same” highlights this. It also emphasises that Offred’s individuality is taken away. The government strengthens its control over the handmaids and other