Author Archives: Sebastian Garzon

The acts of rebelling

Reading the novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood shows many signs of rebelling. The protagonist Offred reveals multiple signs of rebelling against Gilead. Offred lives in a world where women who have a high possibility to get pregnant become sex workers for high ranking men in order to repopulate the earth. This how the government of Gilead operates with one of their laws. Offred throughout the the novel wishes she could escape, have negative thoughts about the government and its people and more. These are some of the signs of rebelling against Gilead. Through Offreds acts of rebelling against Gilead will affect her feelings towards herself and towards Gilead and its people.

The secret password given to Offred so she may use it when she needs to to who is part of the rebellion. Offred has a friend who is also a Handmaid like her, Ofglen. Throughout the novel we didn’t know much about her except that she has a close bond with Offred. Later in the novel, Ofglen reveals herself as part of the resistance to free women and fight against the Gilead government. The two of them always discuss subjects that are taboo in Gilead. During one of their outings Ofglen gives a password to Offred to use, “Mayday.” Ofglen explains, “Don’t use it unless you have to,…It isn’t good for us to know about too many of the others, in the network. In case you get caught,” (202). The use of this password is a double edge sword. Offred can use it to know others from the resistance however if someone of the Gilead government knows about it, it will back fire. When she returns home from her outing, she spots another secret message from Nick. Nick is the personal driver for the family he works for. Nick communicates to Offred by showing his crooked hat. This message explains her secret meeting with the commander, the man who she has to sleep with to get pregnant. Offred now knows two different passwords or messages that are signs of a  rebellion towards Gilead: Mayday, and Nick’s hat. As times passes by, Offred will lose her fear of rebellious ways and continue them.

Offred may break Gileads laws of not sleeping with the commander, but with Nick in order to get pregnant for her own goals. When Offred returns from her outing, she enters in a conversation with Serena Joy, the commander’s wife. She explains to Offred that she has to get pregnant soon because her time of staying in the house is about to end. She believes that the commander is most likely sterile since he can’t impregnate Offred. She claims that Offred should have sex with Nick in order to have a baby. Offred is shocked to hear that Serena Joy suggests it (204-205). This demonstrates that Serena Joy is rebelling against Gilead laws in so she can have the baby in the end. This is also a way to save Offred’s life, because if she can’t get pregnant then there is a chance that Gilead will kill Offred. Serena Joy believes that Offred won’t do because Offred must obey Gilead. Offred hides that fact so she can eagerly rebel against Gilead.

These are just in many times that Offred shows signs of her desire to rebel against Gilead. She hates Gilead and the people who follow their rules. Before these scenes and after, Offred rebels the government and its people by sharing her thoughts about breaking multiple laws and making plans to escape Gilead. Her feelings of rebelling makes her stronger by having hope of a better tomorrow and to hope to escape.

Problems of a women in Gilead

In the novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, the world controlled by Gilead oppresses women of their freedom. Gilead only views women who have the potential to procreate with as mere flesh.  For Offred, the main protagonist, it has been difficult for her. She doesn’t have the right to be able to do simple things for herself, like to own lotion for her skin, and people disrespect her for the role as a Handmaid. 

Offred remembers when she was young about an interview of a woman wearing heavy make-up, this influences her thoughts about the commander. Recently the commander has been acting strangely towards Offred. As if the commander starts to care about Offred’s feelings. She suddenly recalls a moment  of watching a documentary about World War II that she saw as a child. Offred mostly remembers the documentary about a mistress of a Nazi concentration-camp supervisor. The mistress said she had no knowledge about the mass extermination taking place next to her home. The old mistress, wearing a lot of make-up at the time, responds in the interview that her lover wasn’t a monster. Offred mostly remembers how sweet and kind the Nazis was behaving. A couple of days after the interview the mistress commits suicide. Offred mostly remembers the make-up (145-146). Offred has strong memories about having make-up or lotion before Gilead. This items hold a strong importance to her. She really cares about keeping her appearance, this recalls in chapter 17 when Offred uses butter as lotion for her face. The documentary seems to be used as an anecdote to warn Offred about the commander. No matter how the person may appear outside, they are different person inside. The commander may be nice to now, but later can be different. This shows how people can treat the Handmaids very poorly.

Offred receives lotion from the commander as requested, the commander soon realizes that Offred isn’t allowed to have such things in her room. When Offred is alone with the commander in their third meeting. Offred requests if she may have lotion for his face. She later explains that she used butter before as lotion. The commander found it funny. “Butter, he said, musing. That’s very clever. Butter. He laughed. I could have slapped him,” (159). Offred is very irradiated by what the commander said. This represents important make-up or lotion is for Offred. She wants keep up her appearances but she can not do so with Gilead interfering with their rules. This shows in the society of Gilead that they have no empathy towards Handmiads and that their don’t understand their feelings towards Gilead.

The Life of a Handmaid

Reading parts III to VIII of the novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood have become very emotional. Reading through how Offred has to go through day by day as a Handmaid is upsetting and disgusting. The title as a Handmaid, given to women, is similar to a prostitute however almost all of their rights are taken away. This happened when the nation has fallen and overthrown by a new government called the Gilead. The Gilead arrange the Handmaids to be personal sex workers for families who can not conceive children. That is the position of the protagonist Offred. Offred has to suffer of the force of Gilead of being a Handmaid maid because she is a woman who is fertile and she makes an attempt to rebel if she can.

Offred visits her doctor where the doctor sexually harass her, then she refuses him and his offer to help Offred. When Offred will soon be in a uncomfortable situation with her doctor as he sexually harass her, “My breasts are fingered in their turn, a search for ripeness, rot. The breathing comes nearer” (Artwood 60). During this moment the doctor offers to help Offred. She starts to imagine about her previous husband Luke, who’s whereabouts are unknown as of now, can be found. Offred’s hope about Luke represents how much she wants to be loved by someone, rather than being a sex object. This shows how the Gilead influence creates this norm that Handmaids are nothing more than sex slaves to have children. The doctor’s offer doesn’t seem to assist Offred’s situations at all. He touches Offred without her permission as he places his hand between Offred’s legs as he intends to have sex with her in the end (Artwood 61). This shows pre-Gilead harassment. She doesn’t stop him and as the doctor tells Offred the truth that she wants to have a baby. She responds, “‘Yes,’ I say. It’s true, and I don’t ask why, because I know. Give me children, or else I die. There is more than one meaning to it” (Artwood 61). Offred is under the influence of the Gilead. Due to the order that Gilead creates to make Handmaids, she can’t go against them. Offred know of the consequences of rebelling where dying is one option of having a punishment. This is what the interpretation of “There is more than one meaning to it” may mean. She refuses the doctor’s offer as she doesn’t want to break any Gilead laws.

Offred will commence The Ceremony of having sex with her commander with the commander’s wife present, this the duty of a Handmaid. The scene is described where Offred lies on her back on Serena Joy’s, the commander’s wife, bed. Offred is fully wearing her clothes except for her underwear.  Offred lies between Serena Joy’s legs, while Serena Joy is wearing clothes, and they hold hands. The commander has sex with Offred’s lower body (Artwood  93-94). Offred knows they are not making love nor does it count as rape to her as she explains, “Nor does rape cover it: nothing is going on here that I haven’t signed up for,” (Artwood 94). The atmosphere in the room is serious where any feelings being shown here is unnecessary. This scene demonstrates what it is meant of a Handmaid, nothing but a body to have sex with. Offred doesn’t think about Luke or love and she remains unemotional during the entire process. This shows what the Gilead is doing to Offred and other Handmaids. 

Who is she?

In the novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood starts off describing the environment around a character in first person. This character Offred seems to be in a gymnasium and their seems to be a lot of strange things happening. Like their guards outside packing heat, bearing weapons. The life style of Offred is very strange.

Offred doesn’t have freedom. The environment around Offred seems to be a like a prison. Offred isn’t allowed to leave the around unless she gains permission. The same can said about the heavily arm guards outside who can’t enter the area. We are also introduced two characters as Aunt Sara and Aunt Elizabeth. These two women seem to patrol the inside of the area.  “The guards weren’t allowed inside the building except when called, and we weren’t allowed out, except for our walks, twice daily, two by two around the football field, which was enclosed now by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire” (Atwood 4). Offred explains how the important hierarchy and gender roles are in this society. She doesn’t have the right to leave the area. The Aunts seem to be the enemies inside by the tone Offred describe them. However there is something worse outside the area. If there wasn’t why would guards be needed. Maybe there is something to protect Offred in exchange for her freedom?

Offred seems to be an escort. When I say an escort, I mean like a prostitute. Offred didn’t give this presence at first we learn about her thoughts of seducing the guards outside who couldn’t see her, which is odd. She knows the guards are dangerous but they to be potential pawns to her. “They were objects of fear to us, but of something else as well, If only they would look, If only we could talk to them. Something could be exchanged, we thought, some deal made, some tradeoff, we still had our bodies,” (Atwood 4). This was strange for someone to thing of. She actually of having sex with the guards in exchange for something. Unknown of what her motives are but thoughts of her working as a escort is possible. Then it did became apparent that she is an escort as she describes on what she is going to wear, “The red gloves are lying on the bed. I pick them up, pull them onto my hands, finger by finger. Everything except the wings around my face is red: the color blood, which defines us The skirt is angle-length, full, gathered, to a flat yoke that extends over the breasts, the sleeves are full” (Atwood 8).  She describes her outfit to be provocative. This kind of clothing is meant to attract men who have a sexual interest for her. Offred must live in this life style due to the position she is in. What became of her to live this area working as a escort? However there are times she seems to enjoy it. When she returns from her walk after passing the barricade Offred walks away in a seductive manner. She enjoys  her power to enticing men to make them suffer at night (Atwood 22). Offred show no signs of empathy. She wants to inflict pain. Her personality is dark in a strange way, she doesn’t seem to enjoy being an escort but she like to use her body as weapon to deal long lasting damage to men.

Understanding Offred’s position is she is a slave working or escort working for someone or following the rules of that world’s society. She doesn’t have any freedom and she doesn’t seem to have the right to live normal lives as others in the novel.

Their Meaning of Survival


Reading  Emily St. John Mandel’s novel, Station Eleven, is about the adventures of the Traveling Symphony as they wonder through to the apocalyptic world. The world has become very difficult to survive and meaning try live. In this world meaning people have to do actions to get themselves or other safe. In this story, the characters have to kill or die to safe others and their actions have influenced other characters.

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Frank gave everything up to save his brother. Frank is a minor character to the novel of Station Eleven and is the Jeevan’s brother. During the Georgia Flu epidemic a large number of people around the world are dying. Very few are immune to it however it left destruction and chaos everywhere. In order to survive Jeevan and Frank stay at their apartment for nearly two months but they would not survive for long. Since Frank is paralyzed and he is not able to travel long distances. He would be able to survive because “Jeevan sometimes heard gunshots at night,” (182). You smell rotting corpses going into their apartment from outside and you can smoke in the distance (182). Frank values civilization, since he has gone through war and fought for civilization, however he believes that whatever is out in the world civilization and order is gone. He later implies to Jeevan that he will kill himself, “I’ll leave first, I’ve given this some thought” (183). This is a major sacrifice so that Jeevan can leave Frank behind so Jeevan can survive. Frank would not be able to survive in a post apocalyptic world since it requires him to adapt quickly but he can’t due to his paralysis. If Frank didn’t do this then Jeevan would never have reach to the Severn City Airport. This is where he created his Museum of Civilization. This is where he will soon meet on of the main characters Kirsten. 

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There are times when you must be prepare to kill in order to survive. Killing people can cause a negative impact on many people, especially if it is a child. During chapter 49, there is boy who is having a conversation with Sayid. Sayid is a member of the Travelling Symphony who was capture by a group of people who follows a person called the Prophet. The boy explains that he must follow the orders of the Prophet and if he does not he fears that the Prophet will kill him. “What choice do I have? You know this… this time we live in, you know how if forces a person to do things”(292). The boy reveals his feelings of how terrible his actions are. He is very afraid of this individual that he believes that he has to kill in order to survive. This shows that the apocalypse can have a huge negative effect in the minds of young children.


At first I was thinking about to write about death in this essay but it really didn’t explain clearly what I want. So I decided to write about how the characters survive and how their actions influence others in the novel. I am unsure if this is a good argument or not. I have some other ideas from the book that I can put into this. I really do need some help with it.


Finishing the novel Station Eleven by Emily Mandel, I really enjoy the how the adventures of the Traveling Symphony has gone through to the ending. The whole setting of the apocalypse has set realistic situations that can happen. Especially when people die, one possibility is if they commit suicide. Another is if they kill someone to survive, to protect someone, or forcing you to do it. 

Committing suicide in a apocalyptic world. If we go back to Chapter 23, we remember that some of the members of The Travelling Symphony are starting to go missing. Most of the group believe they are lost. This is the clarinet goes missing and leaves a note, “Dear friends, I find myself immeasurably weary and I have gone to rest in the forest” (Chapter 23). The group honestly did believe that she commits suicide. She was apparently close to one of the missing members. Imagine you are thinking that something awful happen to your love one then you would be distress. These emotions can be worse during an apocalypse. Where the human population is low and the chances of surviving is slim, there might not be a reason to continue. The group’s motto is “Because survival is insufficient” (Chapter 10),their motto means that you must find a reason to live. The moment where your purpose to live is no longer present that might cause you have to feeling to die. Another incident is where the boy kills him self near the end of chapter 50.This is a situation where the Prophet and his group found Kirsten and is about to kill her. Before the Prophet kills Kirsten, the boy fires his hand gun at the Prophet’s protecting Kirsten and then kills himself (Chapter 50). It was during this time that the boy has learn that the Prophet is an evil being and has found the courage to fight against his rule. When the boy kills himself it shows how guilty and/or confuse he is when he was talking to Sayid, who is capture in the woods at the time. This shows that the apocalypse can have a huge impact in the minds of young children.

There times when you need to kill. Living in the apocalypse can be very difficult especially when you might need to kill someone. This task can be very hard on a young boy. In chapter 49, the boy is having a conversation with Sayid, when Sayid is capture in the woods, that he must follow the orders of the Prophet. “What choice do I have? You know this… this time we live in, you know how if forces a person to do things”(Chapter 49). The boy reveals his feelings of how terrible his actions are. He enforces that he must enact do them survive, at least since his has to follow the prophet’s orders. Once again, this shows that the apocalypse can have a huge impact in the minds of young children.

Living life in the apocalypse is full of violence. In order to survive you have to go through many experiences where you have to make man choices. Many of your choices can lead you to death.

In Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, parts four to five discusses a lot of the events that has occur before and after the Georgia Flu. I was mostly have interest in part four where a huge situation is develop. The Travelling Symphony has been separated and the adventure has begun to reunite themselves, this part was one of my favorites.

Before the separation the group reminisces before the apocalypse. During the beginning of chapter nineteen, the group tries to forget about the prophet from Severn City airport back in part two of the novel. They started to discuss about Symphony’s motto“survival is insufficient,” (119).  Dieter believes the motto would be an amazing motto if it wasn’t from the popular TV show Star Trek. This makes sense since the group always perform plays from Shakespeare. Many people would consider Shakespeare’s work to have a higher level of writing rather than the story of Star Trek. Kirsten disagrees with him since she has this phrase tattoo on her left forearm and a pair of knives in the other arm.. She said “…it remains my favorite line of text in the world” (119). This motto holds meaning to them since it means surviving is not the same as living. In order to live you must have a purpose, especially if you want to continue living in a apocalypse. This discussion between the Kirsten and Dieter is a way to cope through the awful live they are in. This silly conversation is something that meaning people normally do and did before the Flu. This is a good way overcome any sadness they have. Later on to chapter twenty-two, two of the Symphony’s members disappeared Sayid and Dieter.

After the members disappearance the group continues onward. It was strange as how Sayid and Dieter suddenly vanished out of thin air. Especially since their are no traces of them to know what had happened to them (137). It is easy to assume that the prophet sent out his followers to capture the The Travelling Symphony, even Kirsten believes so as well. The group can’t figure out why they would leave however they decided to continue travelling since they have made a protocol for these instances. Alexandra explains this protocol, “We never travel without a destination. If we’re ever, if you’re ever separated from the Symphony on the road, you make your way to the destination and wait,” (138). This creates a real situation of surviving.  Memorization is key for this instance because as it was explain if anyone gets left behind they can always regroup to the destination that is set up. This will increase the members’ chances to survive. Later on their journey both Kirsten and August lost their group. If the group never made the separation protocol they most likely will find their group again.

I have really enjoyed reading part four of the novel. It gives In order to survive this harsh environment, Kirsten and August have to continue their journey to find their group again. They go through many situation where they almost got shot by man in chapter twenty-four where they obtain some information about Charlie and Jeremy. This will become more interesting when we find out what has happened to them.  Also when they have found an abandon house with a lock door (149). They enter to find out nobody has loot the place yet. This is a strong moment for them since they can almost feel like they have gone back in time and remember what it is like to live in a normal house. This kind of journey improves their bond together as they find some amazing artifacts like a Star Trek ship or the Dear V novel.


Living 20 Years In The Future

The story of Station 11 by Emily st. John Mandel in part two gets really interesting. We are set in the future twenty years later after the epidemic of the Georgia Flu. From the way how the part 2 describes it, the population has decrease drastically from the flu. We soon learn the Kirsten has manage to live up to this point. She starts travelling with The Traveling Symphony, a group of actors and musicians. The life she had before the flu changes a lot and now she is living a new life.

Kirsten travels with her group by performing plays. Since the flu broke out, many of the people living in the present created settlements and try to rebuild their lives as much as they can. It is understandable that many of the people are depress for living in a world that has become a place where it has most certain turned against. The Traveling Symphony has been performing for a long time, “The Traveling Symphony moved between the settlements of the changed world and had been doing so since five years after the collapse,”(37).  This shows that they have been doing this for fifteenth years. They do this in order to make people happy during these difficult times of living.

Living in this apocalypse has not been difficult for Kirsten. She has lost her family members due to the flu but she keeps on finding reasons to live for. She is like a scavenger, she often looks for items in abandon houses to find anything useful or something fun to interact with (39). If someone is able to enjoy to look around abandon house must be trying to enjoy living this life style. This might even be an adventure for her. She also has these old comic books of “Station Eleven” and “Dr.Eleven” that were given by Arthur (42). She loves these comics so much that she rereads them many times. These comics are important to her and to the rest of the novel as it create future connections. These comics were not mass produced and to be able to find them is really rare (42).  

There is no place to return to. The Traveling Symphony mostly travel to different settlements to perform. Everything is gone and nothing is left, however “What was lost in the collapse: almost everything, almost everyone, but there is still such beauty” (55). Even though many of normal everyday life they once knew doesn’t mean you should be sad. There is still many reasons to live for. Where there is destruction their will always be creation. In others words there will still be happiness. As soon the group starts travelling again, All three caravans of the Traveling Symphony are labeled as such, “THE TRAVELING SYMPHONY lettered in white on both sides, but the lead caravan carries an additional line of text: Because survival is insufficient” (56). In the writing of the caravan, it means surviving is not the same as living. You have to find a purpose to keep on living. This group keeps on living to perform to many people in order to bring happiness, this is their purpose to survive.

This is what is like to live twenty years in the future. This is what their purpose is.

Class Notes 10/5/2017

Hello everyone.

The professor wanted us to know that if you do not cite correctly then you will get a zero in your blog. To cite correctly use this (Author’s last name, Page number), if you already address the author’s name and the title of the book or short story just use the page number.

Remember to proofread your posts. Make sure to revise your post and edit them to improve your writing. Be creative. Fix your titles to make them appropriate in your writing or in your arguments. Make sure to write your posts in present tense.


  • Station Eleven, Part 2 (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) & Part 3 (I Prefer You with a Crown)


  • Reading Response #6: Station Eleven, Parts 2-3 (due M 10/9)
  • Class Discussion #4: People’s Choice Posts for Station Eleven, Part 1 (due Su 10/8)
  • In your blog make sure to introduce a text from the author in your blog. Structure your blog based on your main points. Make sure to have summary because it is important to prove your point or your analysis. MAKE SURE TO CITE CORRECTLY.

Also guys remember the professor won’t have office hours on Tuesday. If you need to see her go next Thursday.


Technological determinism: is a reductionist theory that assumes that a society’s technology determines the development of its social structure and cultural values.

Agency: Something or someone who has a purpose, freewill or if they are sentience.

Apathy: Lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.

Information about “August 2026: There Will be Soft Rain(1950)” 


  • House
  • Dog
  • Fire-nature


  • Nature vs. Machine
  • Nature vs. Man

“August 2026: There Will be Soft Rain(1950)” In-dept look 

  • In the short story we see sentences or words in italic style, this shows that the house is speaking out when it tells the time.
  • We were discussing in class if the house was aware of what happen to the family. In the first sentence of the first page, describes how the house is trying trying to woke up everyone up “as if it were afraid that nobody would.” Also in page two when the dog tries to get inside the house. The house realized it and let it to come here. These statements can prove that the house may be sentient.
  • There is a possibility that the narrator is using diction to have the reader believe that the house is sentient.
  • In the reading the dog was described to be heavily injured. As the dog goes around the house and dirtying the place. The robot mice are annoyed that the dog is causing a mess which it has clean up. For humans, the dog is considered to be precious however for the robots it is an inconvenience. These robots are indifferent towards the dog. However, they are only like that because they have their priorities set already.
  • By the end of the story the house was caught on fire when a tree crashes into the house. The house went into a frenzy trying to put the house out.  The machines could not adapt to the situation since they can only do what they were program to do.

“August 2026: There Will be Soft Rain(1950)” Poem In-dept look 

  • The poem was created during the time of World War 1. The author uses the poem to make a connection to his short story, describing how life will continue without human interaction.

“August 2026: There Will be Soft Rain(1950)” Video In-dept look 

  • In this creepy videos (which everyone agrees that it is creepy) shows some similarities with the short story. In both, the house did not realize that the family is dead. In both stories the house is destroy by a representation of nature. In the video the house destroy itself trying to kill a bird. In the other story, the house was on fire by a tree.

Death and sickness

Upon reading “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel, I was lost.  There were many events that I did not grasp. I could only understand what I believe are the main points; The death Arthur Leander and this probable epidemic of the “Georgia Flu.”  The two events will create problems throughout part one of the novel.

Arthur Leander dies on stage during their performance/play. It appears that Arthur suffered from a heart attack, since he was squeezing his chest before he fell (Page 1-2, Paragraph 5). It was obvious to say that everyone was shocked of what had occur. Some of the people on stage tried to bring him back to life. Many people of the audience thought it was part of the play until I believe one or two people, doctors, from the audience came up on stage to check on Arthur’s condition.  It was there it was declared that he had died. It impacted everyone who worked with him because they were all very close to him and to be able to try to save his life. By chapter three it get stranger.

The appearance of the Georgia Flu.  After when Arthur passed away some of his colleagues were discussing about the Georgia Flu and that was spreading fast, “We’ve admitted over two hundred flu patients since this morning” (Page 18 paragraph 9). The terrifying news about is that it can kill you, “A hundred and sixty in the past three hours. Fifteen of them have died.” There seems to be a coincidence of when Arthur died from his heart attack later people are dying from this flu. I believe the narrator is trying to make a connection with Arthur and flu, but I do not understand if there is another connection being made here. 

As far as I can understand, many of the people who were act the scene of Arthur’s death were calling their loved ones of what had happened. Later people were discussing that their loved ones should leave the area so they would not get the flu. Once I caught up to chapter six is when I thought people are dying. The narrator is giving out a list of tasks or activities that have not been complete. The narrator repeats “no more..” throughout the chapter has if nothing in this list exists anymore. I believe in this chapter the narrator has declared that life as we know is gone. There is no more police, no more countries, no more cities, no more pharmaceuticals, no more internet (Page 31-32). This shows that there is no more a government to run, no more protection, no more civilization, there is no way to communicate with others. All of this are signs that a apocalypse has arrived to the world.