23rd February 2018

A sample analysis

‘I look at the one red smile. The red of the smile is the same as the red of the tulips in Serena Joy’s garden, towards the base of the flowers where they are beginning to heal. The red is the same but there is no connection. The tulips are not tulips of blood, the red smiles are not flowers, neither thing makes a comment on the other. The tulip is not a reason for disbelief in the hanged man or vice versa. Each thing is valid and really there. It is through a field of such objects that I must pick my way, every day and in every way. I put a lot of effort into making such distinctions. I need to make them. I need to be very clear, in my own mind.”

Context: This passage occurs within a section called ‘Shopping’. The chapter itself is primarily at when Offred and Offglen go on their regular shopping trips, it elaborates upon their consistent routine that is unwavering. The passage itself is talking about how the girls often digress from their route home to see the wall where those who go against the law are hung as a deterrent to all who see.

Generalisation: The passage is determined by Offred’s relation to Serena Joy’s garden and her seemingly fanatical attachment to it. She relates the blossoming and healing of tulips to the hanging man, but not in way of similarity but more in evidence of how her mind works and the occurrences in that world that she feeds off.

Structure: The passage begins with Offred looking at the smile of the hung man, characterised by its redness, she then proceeds to compare it to the red tulips in the garden of Serena Joy, stating the comparison as to when the tulips are healing at there base. This statement is followed up by complete deviation from the comparison, altering to going against it and explain that there is no difference yet each is there and valid. Offred completes her thoughts and the paragraph by implying the idea that she utilises these objects and more, on the daily, as means of, what is essentially, a way to maintain sanity and not lose herself to the change that she is experiencing and having to live with.


  • Syntax (a) – As consistent with The Handmaid’s Tale, the sentence structure of this passage attempts to convey what is going through Offreds head, as if she is talking out loud. Short sentences are dispersed throughout the passage


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