Author Archives: Stephen D.

An Interesting Ending

After I finished reading the “The Handmaids Tale” by Margaret Atwood I was left with more questions than answers. For instance when Nick comes in to get Offred with other member of the Eyes and tells Offred that they are part of the mayday. ”I expect a stranger, but it’s Nick who pushes open the door, flicks on the light. I can’t place that, unless he’s one of them. (293) I was left asking was Nick part the eye along or was he actually part of the resistance. Were any of his interactions with Offred or was he just spying on her.

Another cliffhanger at the end of the story is the relationship between Offred and The Commander. From the previous chapter it looked like the The Commander cared about Offred but when she was being taken away by the Eyes they seemed to turn on her worrying that she would betray them. ”Bitch, she says. After all he did for you (294). Before it looked as if Serena Joy was the one who called the Eye on Offred. But after you see the way they both react to her getting taken away they seem to be scared that they would talk about all the rules they broke. This makes you question who call them or if Nick is actually part of the mayday and there to safe Offred.

When Offred was waiting for the Van to come I thought that she would hang herself just like Ofglen.  But she did not and that showed me that maybe Offred is not the hero in this book and that she’s not as strong as Ofglen. “Fatigue is here, in my body, in my legs and eyes. That is what gets you in the end. Faith is only a word, embroidered” (292) I’m left to think why didn’t Offred just end it like Ofglen. Did she believe that there was hope out there or was she just to coward to take her own life or beg to the Commander?

Even the last line was a cliff hanger. “And so I step up, into the darkness within; or else the light. (295) that line makes you think of all the endless possibilities. Does she die or is Nick there actually to save here. Does the Commander somehow get out of the trouble? You just imagine that your Offred and you don’t know what’s about to happen but you hope for the best.

The only thing that was not a cliffhanger at the end was that you see every one of the character break the laws one way or another. You see how all these laws have no effect and all it does is bring fear into the people. What’s interesting is the fact that the top Commanders don’t even seem to try to keep the rule of Law in Gilead. It’s as they are trying to see the country fail and overlook the people breaking the laws. Even Serena Joy does not seem to care about the laws as she had the option of turning Offred in but she never did.

Class Notes 11/14/17

Class Notes 11/14/17

HW: Class Discussion #10: People’s Choice Posts for ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ Parts IX-X due Wednesday 11/15/17

Free Writing: write down one what you find most interesting or you have a question on and give a reason why.

Class Discussion: The questions or what people found interesting

Correlation between The commander and Luke

Offreds curiosity of previous handmaids

Latin phrase in the closet


Relationship with Offred and Commander (What does he want?)

Who are the Commander? Purpose?

Offreds courage

Her Daughter= her motivation

A rat in a maze Offreds lust for power

Offred leaves the Commander?

Offred relationship with the commander

Offred questions about her daughter

The world of the novel

What happened to the government

How offred takes narrative in the novel

Offred manipulating the commander

Offred and her relationships

Offred and Ofglen

Offred and Ofglen discuss about each other’s thoughts page (168)

Commander calling Offred into his office. He acts more human

Why does Offred steal from him

Mystery of the military code

Offred give up hope to save Luke and might stay with him

Is Offred forgetting about Luke

The relationship between Offred and The commander

Offred seeing the humanity in the Commander

Group Discussion: Get into groups and discus the main questions that people had.

Topics ‘

Offred and Commander


Offred manipulating and rule breaking

Down fall of society

Offred daughter

Luke and The Commander

Offred and Ofglen


The Gender Roles in Society

In The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood we continue to see how gender plays a major factor in society. Even the word that we use has an effect on gender. One example is the difference between lay and laid. “Lay is always passive. Even men used to say, I,d like to get laid.”(chp 7) Its interesting to see how gender roles are changing it seems that all that woman fought for during the woman’s suffrage era is gone.

“What’s your paper on? I just did one on date rape” (Chp 7) These moments in Offreds life lets us see how the past was like and what moments she takes for granted. We see how she doesn’t really care about woman’s issue as she jokes about stuff like date rape. “Date rape, I said. You’re so trendy. It sounds like some kind of dessert. Date rape.” These sorts of issues while taken seriously in the past we take for granted the right just to take these issues without being scared of the repercussions. (Chp 7)

We also see how Offred is now ashamed of her own body now. “Shameful, immodest I avoided looking down at my body, not so much because it’s shameful or immodest but because I don’t want to see it.” (Chp 12) At this moment we see that Offred has lost the will in to believe in herself as she see her own body immoral and it seems that even the thought of herself seems to disgust her. The new government seems to be winning every day in brainwashing the woman of the new country and making them believe in the new rules and laws.

We truly see the way the Handmaids are just sex objects in chapter 16. “I do not say making love, because this is not what he’s doing.” But interestingly Offred does not consider this rape as she chose to be Handmaid and she seems fine with this life. “Nor does rape cover it: nothing is going on here that I haven’t signed up for” (chp 12) Interestingly we see how she is even a littler relieved because at least this commander does not smell, as bad as the previous Commander who she was with. “At least he’s an improvement on the previous one, who smelled like a church cloakroom in the rain” (chp 16) We see how the lovemaking is a job and they are not allowed to get attached to each other. “Kissing is forbidden between us. This makes it bearable.” (chp 16)

Another interesting way we see gender roles have a part in this world is we see the jealousy that Serena Joy has towards Offred. Serna Joy is quick to make Offred leave after she has finished her duty as a handmaid. “Serena Joy lets go of my hands. “You can get up now, “she says. “Get up and get out.”(Chp 16) We see how see seems threatened by Offred but Offred seems to  understand how she feels. “Which of us it worse for her or me?” (Chp 16) Offred feels compassion for Serena Joy but the feeling that doesn’t go both ways.

Gender Roles in a New Government

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a story of an overthrown government by a theocratic regime and the people’s rebellion to reform the government. One interesting aspect we see during current rule of the government is the way the gender roles gave become. Due to the USA now being a rigid Christian nation that follows a rigid Christian principles. There is now a disempowerment of woman and we see early on how they chose to fight back and try to regain their liberties.

We see early on how the woman are oppressed the two aunts Aunt Sara and Aunt Elizabeth aren’t allowed to have guns but the guards that are outside are they are given special privileges like being outside while the two aunts are only allowed outside for two walks outside. Offred is trying to make some contact with the guards using her body. Offred understands that she still has her body and she can use that to make the guards respond. Another issue with the gender roles of the woman is that the woman can’t agree on a how they should behave. We see how Rita and Offred are both victims of the Christian anti-woman government but their internal divisions will keep them away from working together and threaten the government.

We also Serena Joy the wife of the leader seems to be hypocrite with her beliefs. On one hand she supports her husband in the belief that Handmaid and Wife should be separate but at the same time disobeying her husband and rebelling by smoking a cigarette. Another example of Offred using her body is when she passes a barricade and walks in a seductive manner in hoping that she’s aroused the men so much that they’ll suffer at night.

Now even though the world is not perfect Offred believes that there were some improvements made to woman like constant precautions she had to take with men, but at the same time she had the option of choose her own clothes and spend money. The name of the grocery store has an interesting meaning of “Milk and Honey” the biblical name could mean that women aren’t allowed to read the bible and this shows Gilead’s two most prime interesting  oppressing woman and making a Christian society.

We see how successful Gilead is in tricking people mind Offred has a moment where she actually thinks used to dress like the women she now finds repulsive. Gilead is able to change people mind and have them start thinking like he believes the new country should be.

We currently see how Gilead is successful into making woman believe there rights should be decreased. We start seeing how even the woman who are against these laws being set against them they also start believing these laws are just and that they are against people who don’t dress like them

How Arthur is Truly the Main Character

In Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel we meet Arthur Lender on the first line. ILL try to prove in this essay how the main character in the novel is Arthur Lender and how his life impacted each of the other characters. I’ll show that he impacted each character not only a physical aspect but also a mental aspect. I’ll show how each character has memory of Arthur that will either affect in a positive way or a negative way. Some of the character that Arthur affects are Kristen, Miranda, Tyler, Clark, Jevvan and Elizabeth.

Arthur was not the perfect man nor was he a good husband but it was these character traits that make him the perfect main character. At the end of the novel we Arthur giving his collection of the Station Eleven to Kirsten. By doing this he starts a domino effect that will somehow end back with Arthur. There is a moment in the first chapter where we see how each character will be connected one way or another after Arthur had passed away Jeevan comforts Kirsten and attempts to distract her from Arthur’s death. Even In his death Arthur is somehow bringing the character together. Clark reads Kirsten’s retelling of Arthur’s death, that he saw from a newspaper. This moment we see how Arthurs death brings two character together even though they are not next to each other by reading this article Clark believes that there is a possible future for civilization.

Now if Arthur was a good husband and never cheated on his first wife Miranda then maybe all these character would of never met it was these events that led to everything. After divorcing his wife he meets and marries a woman by the name of Elizabeth and they have son name Tyler. Now Arthur Leaves Elizabeth and she takes her son Tyler to Israel and it was these events that led Tyler to become the prophet.  Due to Tyler’s mom being unstable and Arthur barley being involved in his life he has to grow up on his own and becomes the man he is. Tyler becomes obsessed by the Station Eleven comics and this obsession is the only thing that saves Kristen. Now Arthur being the bad father informs his son he won’t be going to Israel and will miss his birthday.  Tyler then starts explain his love the “Station Eleven” comic books, and begins excitedly explaining them to his father.


One thing I’m still working is how Arthur being married to Miranda allowed all the characters to meet. Also the difficulty of showing how Arthur not Miranda is the main character. I’m currently trying to find proof in the short story. I’m also working on the cover letter.

Survival and Death

In Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, we see until the end how death and survival played a vital role in the book. We see how random both things are. As a change of career and phone call could help you survive. Or how a comic you write for yourself becomes the important part of surviving for other people.

By day three all the essential items are gone from the airport. There is no more food, medicine, technology and the people dialing 911 cannot reach anyone. “By Day Three, all of the vending machines in the airport are empty”242” This line shows how people must depend on themselves to survive there is no more police to come and help people with medical emergencies. Since by Day Eight no one has come to the airport, a TSA agent named Tyrone goes out to hunt and returns with a deer. This shows how an activity somebody did for fun before the disease outbreak can become the tool for survival. In the same time we see everybody celebrating the killing of the deer and food to eat we see the girl who needed Effexor leave the group. After the small group do a search party to find her but sadly they are unable this shows how even surviving the original disease outbreak she could not survive her own disease.

In year fifteen Kristen gives an interview and when asked what “When you think of how the world’s changed in your lifetime, what do you think about?” “I think of killing.”(265) Here we learn that people no matter how young they were learn the importance of themselves before others. We see that Kristen has killed people before to survive. François has realized after interviewing the whole symphony that their stories are the same. “Everyone else died, I walked, I found the Symphony. Or, I was very young when it happened, I was born after it happened, I have no memories or few memories of any other way of living, and I have been walking all my life.”(266) all the people who survived have had the same experience of walking and searching with death all around them.

In chapter 51 we see Kristen in Charlie’s tent with him. There they start discussing many thing including death. When speaking about death they both get memory of a supernatural occurrence, and how those moments can be  strain of the losses and the difficulty of taking a life. Kristen also thinks about the friends she has lost and the people she has killed this is a moment of death and survival in the same moment. Kristen misses her friends that had died but she has killed people to survive and those people that died have people who miss them.

Throughout the novel we see the affect death has on the characters not just physical but psychological. The survivors wonder about why they survived and other people have died. We see how survival can move people from religion and some people closer to religion like Elizabeth and Tyler.

The Importance of Memory

In parts 4-6 in “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel we started seeing how all the characters memories are connected.  As the characters start remembering stuff from the old work they do not know if what they remember is real or not. This leads us to think how much we can trust the characters and how we have to look at everything they remember with a grain of a salt.

In chapter 27 we see how Jeevan books an interview with Arthur, at first Jeevan worried Arthur will recognize him as the man who took the embarrassing photo of Miranda but Arthur does not seem to recognize him. As Jeevan is in his brother’s frank house he remembers about random memories and wonders about his life. “Jeevan kept thinking of his girlfriend, his house in Cabbegetown, wondering if he was going to see either of them again” (Page 174) Here Jeevan thinks about the past and as a means to escape and distract from the apocalypse that’s occurring. Jeevan while being unhappy about his past life as a entertainment writer/paparazzi remembers one of his few proud moments. “What are you smiling about?” Frank asked. “Arthur Lender” (Page 175) Jeevan remembers the promise he made Arthur as a rare moment of integrity in his past career.

Chapter 31 we see Kristen giving an interview to François Diallo’s she speaks of the production of King Lear and the day Arthur had a heart attack. Kristen remembers the audience member who tried to save Arthur but cannot remember the name of that man. Even though many people knew Arthur nobody remembers the name of the man who tried to save him as the name is lost in history but the story of the man is remembered. We see Kristen have a major lapse of memory during the interview as she remembers Peter dropping off her home but cannot remember anything about her parents as she never saw them again. I believe that she is using the memories of Arthur as a father figure to fill the gap of her parents.

In Chapter 37 we learn that Kristen believes that her fragmented memory is a actually a blessing. ”Diallo: I hadn’t thought about it Raymonde: What I mean to say is, the more you remember, the more you’ve lost” (Page 195) This chapter makes you think of the say ““Ignorance is bliss.” Yes sometimes not knowing is more comfortable but all you are able to life easier but like everything to much of something is bad. Kristen being ignorant of her past is just trying to cope of the horror of what is left.

In chapter 39 we truly see how all the characters are interconnected. Miranda realizes she forgot to give Arthur the paperweight and she ships to Arthur at the Elgin Theatre. This is the same paperweight that after eleven years that Kristen still carries in the post- apocalyptic world. We now see how significant that paperweight is at that moment.

A New World

In the theater it all began, King Lear a play about tragedy and death. Arthur Lender the lead actor suffers a heart attack and in the audience Jeevan, a man who is training to be a paramedic rushes the stage attempts CPR but it’s too late. Interestingly the author’s addition of the paparazzi is her possibly showing the obsession that people have with celebrities and media. Also when it comes to informing his family of the passing instead of calling his family they call his lawyer and have drink toasting Arthurs career. I believe this shows even though his famous he never lived a fulfilled life as he wasn’t close to his family.

At the end of chapter two we learn that something happens to all people in the bar and the bartender lives the longest three weeks (CHP 2 Pg15). Soon after Jeevan, while walking and thinking about the events gets a call from his doctor and gets warned of the outbreak of the Georgia Flu. (CHP 3 Pg 17)After walking a little more he gets a call from the doctor again that tells him get out of the city or stock up on the supplies. Jeevan visits his brother Frank apartment knowing that this might be the last time they see due to Frank being a paraplegic. This is an interesting problem do you stay with your family and hope for the best or due you listen to the doctor and leave. Personally I would stay with my family because you don’t know what the future holds and I would want to die with my family.

In chapter 6 we learn about how the Georgia Flu has spread and what damage it has done, we get an incomplete list of what is left and what is gone. It seems as the world has gone dark as we learn there is no more trains running under the surface of cities on the dazzling power of the electric third rail. Then we that there are no more cities. This shows that maybe there are few survivors and they are all spread out all across the country or even the world. We also learn that there are no more pharmaceuticals left meaning that one small cut or an infection is an automatic loss of life.

No more countries, all borders unmanned the whole world is in chaos now and there’s no military to protect people. All laws are gone and now people have to fend for themselves. This a post-apocalyptic world with no order. I believe we all wondered about this kind of situation how we will survive what we will do. Reading ahead you get to imagine what happens and quite interesting. The decisions that Jeevan makes could be his last and mentally I don’t know if I would be able to survive long in a post-apocalyptic world.

In Chapter 1 we meet a little girl by the name of Krystal and then we don’t seem to hear from here again.  This is the only character we get to know by first and last name and Jeevan seems to be a father figure to here for the short moment he was taking care of here.  I believe Emily ST, John Mandel is somehow going to find a way for these two girls two characters to meet and survive in this post-apocalyptic world.

The One Thing Nuclear War Cant Stop

Tick-tock, seven o’clock, time to get up, time to get up, seven o’clock! (Page 1 Paragraph 1) You would of thought as the family was about to get ready for  day of work but you would be wrong. This is a story of life after nuclear war and how technology will continue to exist even as all mankind doesn’t.  While it dose not say no one lives there you see “The five spots of paint- the man, the woman, the children, the ball remained. The rest was a thin charcoaled layer.”You see all sorts of animals that survived the rats, snakes and the family dog but no signs of human life.Its nine oclock and a voice asked what poem would you like to and no in the house responds. So the voice picks Mrs. McClellan, favorite the first line reads “There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground” This is the first sign of nuclear war when the bomb dropped in Japan the first thing they saw was a yellow cloud with rain falling out of it and then the people started smelling human flesh burning. Albert Enistien said it best when “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Nuclear war is something that humans will not survive but our houses will. The lawn will keep getting watered, the food will still be cooked and dishes would be washed without the help of mankind. “Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree, if mankind perished utterly;” (Page 3 line 8) The house still recognized the dog and let in the mice still ran around the house as they didn’t need humans to survive.
There is still one thing that technology cant do and survive from natural disasters.The wind blew. A failing tree bough crashed through the kitchen window. Cleaning solvent, bottled, shattered over the stove. The room was ablaze in an instant! (Page 3 Paragraph 5) The irony that to take out mankind it took t another mankind creation but to take out the house and the animals inside it took a natural disaster. This story was written in 1950 and that was the Cold War an the arms race was beginning. The fear was that a nuclear war would take us out. You would think after 70 years we would learn but as George Santayana said “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”  Today with the threat of Nuclear War we might be living in world where are alarm clocks would be ringing and no one would answer it . The last line in the story to me is the strongest line “Today is August 5, 2026, today is August 5, 2026, today is…” This shows that even after the worst happens the days will continue without without you. This is something people overlook when civilization comes to end a new one will rise without your help. Amit Rays says it perfectly “Earth is the play ground of our children and their children. We cannot allow it to be the play ground of the nuclear arms of the evil forces.” 

A Not So Utopia

In The One who Walks Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin we quickly learn of  a place in which everyone live a happy life but with a catch. As soon you start reading the story you see this happy  city “They were not simple folk, you see, though they were happy. ” (Page 1 Paragraph 2) They had celebrations in the streets. But as soon you start believing that there was a true utopia you learn of the sick catch “Do you believe? Do you accept the festival, the city, the joy? No? Then let me describe one more thing.”(Page 3 Paragraph 2) To have this beautiful utopia there has to be child who has to live in this room under the beautiful buildings, a room with no windows  and a dirty floor. this liitle kid who looks like 6 but actually is 10 gets harssaed and beaten by the people of Omelas (One of them may come and kick the child to make it stand up.) (Page 3 Paragraph 3) It is only the few brave and smart ones who leave Omelas the city of happiness to the unknown ( But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.) (Page 4 Paragraph 3)

This story makes us ask the fundamental question of how much we are wiling to overlook for happiness. Are we willing to let others suffer to live in a city of happiness. This story makes you think is the suffering of one kid worth the happiness of a whole city. In my mind this is an acceptable return but as you see there people who live there young and old leave the city and never return