Analysis, Chapers 40 & 41

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Directions

  • Read the following analysis from Lit Charts and do a 3-2-1:
  • Write 3 important insights
  • 2 insights that interested you, that you’d like to discuss or further investigate
  • 1 discussion question this analysis made you think of

Analysis Chapter 40

  • This scene demonstrates the differences between Serena Joy’s and the Commander’s forms of rebellion. The Commander is all about his own immediate gratification and fun, while Serena Joy has longer-term, less selfish goals.
  • Offred’s immediate arousal contrasts with her dismal time with the Commander at Jezebel’s. It all seems to be good to be true.
  • And it is too good to be true. As with her meetings with the Commander, Offred feels the need to tell a “better” story (at least a more conventionally romantic one) than the one that occurred. She feels some debt to her audience for listening to all her thoughts. At the same time, Offred is honest about her falsehood, ultimately preferring the embarrassing truth.
  • Offred’s claims about love may seem cynical, but they also indicate that love is such a special experience that she can’t even properly feel or express it without resorting to the expected clichés.

Directions

  • Read the following analysis from Lit Charts and do a 3-2-1:
  • Write 3 important insights
  • 2 insights that interested you, that you’d like to discuss or further investigate
  • 1 discussion question this analysis made you think of

Analysis Chapter 41

  • As she did in Chapter 23, Offred removes herself from her story to comment on her storytelling. She emphasizes that the story is for others, an act of communication, not just a way for her to pass time.
  • When Offred falls in love, nothing else is important. The selfishness that has always been a part of her comes out full force, as does her desire to subject herself to a man’s whims, always asking for permission. She even makes Nick a kind of “reconstruction” by idolizing him. At the same time, Offred finally gets to communicate and have freedom. Though she thinks of herself as passive, she’s the one knocking on his door.
  • Though Offred has never been happier in Gilead, this happiness leads to her most morally reprehensible behavior. Instead of helping Ofglen, and by extension helping more people experience freedom and love, she prioritizes herself. As always in the novel, nothing is purely good or bad.
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