Author Archives: Terry_L

A smothering world

The television series, The Handmaid’s Tale that created by Bruce Miller which was based on the novel written by a Canadian writer, Margaret Atwood was released in April, 2017. This television series highly restored what exactly telling in the book and reflected a creepy society with totalitarian. The authority of divine rights, imaginary freedom and the absolute authority of men and different ruling classes were vividly showed in this television series.

A smothering atmosphere was fulfilled in the entire television series, the first episode started with a violent scene which was several armed men chased a woman named June and her daughter, Hannah and took away her daughter from her eventually. She was also taken to the place called red center and trained by Aunt Lydia to be a handmaid. As June, now was named Offred mentioned, “I had another name, but it’s forbidden now. So many things are forbidden now.” Here strongly shows how exactly she feels from this place which full of imaginary freedom. And in the scene of giving lessons to the handmaids by aunt Lydia, she complains about the old society in United States on the birth control pills, morning-after pills and murdering babies as the reasons for downward of birthrates. The word “ordinary” later conclude how they live after in this world. As Offred tells at the end of the episode, “someone’s watch, here someone’s always watching, nothing can change, it all has to look the same.” The world here has restricted their real freedom and fool them with their imaginary freedom. This is not what they desired but they can just accept this .

The second episode was even worst than what it showed in the first, Offred used a lot of flashbacks and aside to reflect what she feel from bottom of her heart. She is not feeling comfortable in this world at all. She was convinced to join Ofglen because she feels comfortable talking to her, however, Ofglen was replaced by another woman at the end and Offred feels extremely dissatisfied with that. They don’t have the rights to read and talk about the news, between them, they can only discuss about the weather and some word from the bible such as “Blessed be the fruit” and “May the lord open”. They¬† were always being watched by the “Eyes”, not only women, and some other men from lower classes were being judged by them also. There was no privacy and no choice for them at all. Through out the whole episode was just a smothering atmosphere of society, a society that full of the smell of deaths.



Friendly reminder: You can actually watch The Handmaid’s Tale for free on this link attached below, just ignored the all Chinese words surrounded and click on the episode number only to watch whatever episode you wanted.It was with mix subtitle, English and Chinese. There was 65 seconds for the advertisement, too. Just be a little patient.


Lost in “heaven”

After reading the part IX and X of the book, “The Handmaid’s Tales”, I was a little surprised on the behavioral changes on Offred. After Offred has the body touching with the commander, she was starting to get into the feeling of their relationship, even though the commander actually don’t understand a bit of the handmaid’s burdens and he was just enjoying the sexual activity with Offred or the handmaids were just treated as animals or slaves. However, she just don’t mind about that, she was enjoying their secret relationship and keep the attention to the commander’s mistress, Serena. She had been lost in the joy and forgotten the situation of humiliation.

In Offred’s memory of Nazi, by comparing the documentary about the Nazi guard and the situation of the commander and her. Even though they were both not purely evil, but for the commander, he did not understand even a little bit of the situation of Offred. He has never thought about how women’s skins get dry before. When he hears Offred said they use butter, he mused and laughed at it which made Offred want to slap him. All these seem the commander does not understand the humiliation of the handmaids or women living in Gilead and he just remember his responsibility for this country.

Before the creation of Gilead which was previous United States, what she remember was that all those women having jobs and people had to take those pieces of paper money when they go for shopping every time. During that period, more sexual liberation seemed to be there than what she is experiencing in Gilead now, which pornography and prostitution are acceptable. And she was not that regret of losing all these since the time she lost her job and her money, Luke promised her to take care of her instead. However, she did not thought about that they are still taking the blames and they are actually being ignorance at this moment.

The relationship between the commander and her seemed to be found out soon by Serena, but the commander did not care about it that much. The commander just put Offred’s position and her life into troubles to satisfy his desire for sexual activity. The commander’s selfish was totally expressed at this moment and the ignorance of Offred was showed as well. She failed to realize her real situation and she was actually still under the “protections” under the government, she had lost herself at this moment.

Class Notes for 11/7

Free write which counted as a quiz: Think about a theme or recurring theme; the idea of narrator’s storytelling of the book, “The Handmaid’s Tale” base on what you have read so far. (Hints: words, languages, audience and communications.)

Friendly reminder:

Mid-Semester Grades: If you have NOT heard from our lovely professor Belli, then you are off the hook. She called out the names during class, if you did not attend class, email her just to be safe. If you want to know about your grade whether you are passing or failing.

Have a sense on how many blogs you’ve done so far and email professor if you can’t see her at normal timing when you want to have a chat with her about any assignments including the essay. Don’t forget to bring the printed materials with you!


-People’s choice on the blogs about part III to part VIII, it’s due on November 8th, this coming Wednesday.

-Catch up on the reading in order to keep on track.

-Continue working on the Essay#1 and it’s due November 14th, next week, Tuesday.

Story Telling: Page 39 – 40:

“It isn’t a story I’m telling but it is a story I’m telling.” mixture of past and facts.

  • Hierarchy – color of dresses
  • Epigraphs
  • Descriptive
  • Imagery ( the book uses a lot of descriptions and imagery.)
  • Narrative
  • Table of contents – Functional (sort of like a journal, what happens, not so much like a list.)
  • “Night” – has an importance in the book

Page 37:

“The night is mine, my own time, to do with as I will, as long as I am quiet. As long as I don’t move. As long as I lie still.”

  • Night is the freedom, as long as she is quiet.
  • Memories – She reminisces about her daughter Hannah and Husband Luke.
  • Meditation – During the day, her life is about waiting to be told what to do. She has lots of free time.
  • Time travels through Offred’s mind, she retains control of her mind while all else has been lost to her.
  • Subjective Narrative – All she has is that cannot talk freely.
  • Constantly revises the way she tells her story. Gilead, Red Center.
  • Propaganda – To persuade you to change your opinion.
  • Narrator thinks back to how commander reads bible by ceremony.
  • Free association: Something that makes you think about something else, and on and on… (Offred’s Style or the signature of the author)
  • Author is very attentive to detail.
  • Offred was hungry on everything, such as news, nail polish in the stores.
  • The system in Gilead was set up, but there was no more loyalty left because people loved each other and desired on each other, the emotion in people’s mind was getting much stronger than the system itself.
  • “I need to be very clear, in my own mind.” (Page 33)
  • “I wait. I compose myself. My self is a thing I must now compose, as one composes a speech. What I must present is a made thing, not something born.” (Page 66)

We will continue what we left off on Thursday 11/09/2017 ūüôā




In part three to part eight of the book, the limitations were expressed everywhere, especially for the women which seemed to be restricted on sexual expressions, whether they are feminists or the religious conservatives. The sexuality seemed to be extremely limited, especially the women’s sexuality. Women living in the country of Gilead lost most of their freedoms and unable to do what you really want to, not only on activity, but also on the thoughts.

Pregnancy seemed to be a big problem for the women living in Gilead. The society rejected about the modern beliefs and put all problems on the women but not the men upon sterile. Men would never be judged on the sterile officially which only some people knew about this. Even though it was illegal, but the doctor was still desired for the strange women. Illegal activities always happened under the surface of Gilead’s surface society, just like the women fertile by the lower-class men such as the doctors.

Another aspect which indicated the unequal treatments occurred in Gilead. When Janine shared the story about the gang-rape which happened in fourteen. None of the women felt sympathy on her but judge on her that she let them go on, and the god allowed this happen and teach Janine a lesson about this. However, normally women should not go against with women on such sensitive problem and leave out sympathy, this did not happen in Gilead. They enjoyed putting the condemnation on Janine on what happened on her and never care about what she truly felt on this and call her a crybaby instead. They despised on her weakness which greatly expressed how the world in Gilead was changing, the unequal were going deeply into these women’s mind and affected what they thought about themselves or the other women.

Basically the women in Gilead were used as a tool for the purpose of reproductions, they seemed to have no life but just used for other benefits of the society. Sexual love and romantic love will never exist among them. The government in Gilead were controlling the women’s bodies for the next generation reproduction which the narrator greatly complained about.

Forbidden world

When the women in the world were limited on their activities, thinking and certain communications, what would their life look like after? I was really impressed after I read the first two parts of “The Handmaid’s Tale”. All women are limited to live in one place, and get protected by the guardians which named by Angels. And at this moment, the position in the society seemed to be more obvious. Lower classes will be working for the upper classes.

In the place named Gilead, it comes a new class which was called the handmaid, who actually works for those women in the upper class which were not able to get pregnant, The world in the book so far had been affected by lack of healthy women which able to get pregnant. As the women walked out the house, they only see the men who worked as the guardians for them, they wished those guardians who were names Angels could talk to them a little, however, this could not be achieved because they were assigned to work for upper classes and help them to get babies. The world in Gilead was getting unequal upon the sudden change in the environment and those handmaids were treating like tools to those commanders.

Life seemed to a little hard since the new society of “The republic of Gilead”. In the narrator’s memory, back in the time that before the Gilead period, they, the women were not being protected and they had to keep the doors shut in order to protect themselves from the strangers, and had to ignored the catcalls in the streets do they will be safe. But now under the protection, they were not being whistled when they walk in the streets and none will touch them even they go into streets. Life seemed to be better, however it was getting worse to them. They wished the guardians, the Angels could talk to them or they could talk to them instead. However, they were not allowed to do that any more. As the handmaids, they were limited on their activities and being used as the upper classes’ tools for pregnancy after.

Throughout the part I and part II in the book, the unequal status was so obvious and those healthy were mostly used as the tools for pregnancy, dissatisfy was fully expressed throughout sentences.

To survive is not enough


When the world is collapsed by pandemic or some other disasters, the fatalities appear continuously, most of the technologies from the modern civilization such as¬† communication technology, convenient transportation and the internet technology all disappear after this, how is the people who were left over going to react on this? Are they going to struggle just for taking the last breath before the end of the world? Are they going to live as usual and treat that situation like a part of life for sure, continue living without pursues and slowly forget their memory of how people built up their previous civilization? Are they going to kill each other and gather the last goods and materials and make themselves survive a little longer? However, none of these were the best choice. To survive in the collapsed world was not enough, if you have a chance to survive under the disaster, there’s things that more valuable for you to do but just struggling to survive only.

Body Paragraph 1

In the book, “Station Eleven” written by Emily St. John Mandel, the narrator indicated that the real attitude which people should have under the destruction of the Georgia Flu. This can be reflected by one of the main characters, Miranda which was the ex-wife of Arthur. She was always yearn for the life of the modern civilization and never ever lose hope on the life in the future, even though the scene of her death was sad but still beautiful. She always try to escape from the ordinary but she was lost on it. Through the comic book she wrote, it clearly express how was she thinking about the current world and the future world, there should a hope and attitude for continue living in the world. It indicated this more detail in the time Clark was reading her books. (332) Second is the story between Jeevan and his brother, Frank. Frank commit suicide and Jeevan had a strong chance continue living and moving forward. Here strongly indicated that to survive is not enough, Frank held an opposite side to the thought of Jeevan, Frank is the person which was more realistic and pessimistic, he would just continue living without pursues and wait for his death. However, Jeevan had a strong hope on restoring the modern civilization, he wanted to get back the modern society and continue living there, but not just straggling hard just for the survival. The suicide of Frank here indirectly¬† support the narrator’s point of view on the attitude of living in this collapsed world.

Body Paragraph 2

Another important point which supports the narrator’s opinion was the existence of the traveling symphony and another important character, Kirsten. Not like the other people, they did not give up on hope for the future world. Even the condition was hard for them, they just keep performing the best works left from the previous human society and keep encouraging people which were blinded by the horror of the pandemic. They used some essences especially the beautiful works from Shakespeare to light up the atmosphere of hopeless in the world and take people out from the darkness. As Kirsten said, “We long only to go home, we dream of sunlight, we dream of walking on earth.” (302) What it mean here is that surviving for a short period does not make a difference from death, other than just surviving, it’s better to have the hope and work a little on it, continue living with your pursues and willing to make a change during your survival period, some people had never lost their hope on a brighter future.


I am trying to redefine the meaning of surviving based on the story of Miranda, the Traveling symphony, Frank and Jeevan and Kirsten. First I will do some analysis on the behaviors of different characters which related to the idea of the point to survive. My central idea is going to be living but not just surviving. I will continue working on my body paragraph structure and make it more clear, straight to the point and avoid the repetition. Then I will try to analysis how the experiences of Kirsten and things did by the Traveling symphony support my opinion.


Living, but not just surviving

Through part seven to part nine,¬† the narrator stated how people from different groups struggled to survive under the huge destruction of Georgia Flu. The civilization of human beings seemed to be collapsed, but fortunately it was not totally destroyed under some people’s hard working. Even though this disaster created an incalculable damage to the Earth and the legacy of human civilization, but humanity was not gone yet. The Traveling Symphony seemed to be the brilliance of the world, they tried their best by using great works left Shakespeare to light up those people who felt like living undersea. They spread the thought about living is not just for living.

It is good to see that the Traveling Symphony who was trying to use Shakespeare’s works to encourage those people under the sorrow of losing their home, but this job was not that easy¬† since they were targeted by an evil man named Prophet. As we know, the fight between people was always occur since human appeared in this world. Especially in such a condition, different personalities will always exposed. The traveling Symphony was trying change the way people thought with their hard working, however at this moment, the prophet was going against with them for his own benefits. Everyone has a different way to live, and prophet chose this way for his survival. Finally under a little talk in the woods, the young boy finally found out the real identity of the prophet, he decided to kill the prophet and commit suicide after because he felt guilty upon the way he used to live by following the prophet.

There were many aspects which showed that the world was not ended yet. One of the main character, Clark created a museum which storage many legacy left by the previous world. Many people were survived and continued living in the airport area. Even though there was no plane flew upon the sky anymore, but there were still lives living in the world. As Clark saw the actual contents from the comic book made by Miranda, we can see that she still has many expectation on  the future world, and it express a sense of it should not be just about surviving but living.

When people were still struggling for surviving, the Traveling Symphony brought a light which lights up those people who still living under darkness or the nightmare from the Georgia Flu, Jeevan tried his best to recreate a town with electricity which brought hopes to Kirsten and Clark and some other survivors.¬† They all spreading a sense that if you survived, don’t just continue struggle for survival but think about how to live in the later days and dream a little on the future, because living is not just living!

Open the gate for happiness

We seem to write everyday. You text others on your mobile devices, you write a letter to your family when you are on a trip, you write a blogging post on Facebook or Twitter, these all can be considered as a type of writings. If you are going to ask me about the reason why I write, my answer will be for happiness. Everyone may have a bad time in the daily life, sometimes they may try to find someone and complain about it, but fact is that in order to deliver your story¬† clearly, you may use a lot of descriptive words in it but no one would always like to listen to you with patient, but your pen you use for writing doesn’t. You can have you pen to work with you like always and express all the thoughts vividly with the descriptive language you use, there will be a chance people feel interested in your works and try to understand what you try to deliver to them. And more importantly, you may develop a better mood after.

Writing can make you feel happy, it’s not without a reason. There might be things in the world you couldn’t change, such as bad weather, heavy traffic, people’s misunderstandings, you feel bad about this and cannot complain these through your mouth, you might be choose to write instead at this moment. As the words flow under the nib of your pen, all things seem to be controllable and were stated out clearly on the paper. At this time, you will use a different attitude to judge these things. The paper will always be patient and record your thinking. You can just take your time and do your critical thinking. This is also the right timing for you to develop your own thoughts for this case. After you will definitely feel satisfied for the results.

Beside helping you to build your own thinking, writing can also be a good tool for you to communicate with others. Many people thought writing was just the way to record your own thinking, but that was not true, writing can also be the bridge to connect you and others. I still remember that writing used to be my good tool to keep in touch with my friends and my teachers when I was studying in high school. As an immigrant without any English background, I often feel frustrated for not able to talk to people here and understand what was told in class. At that time, my sister suggested me to write to my friends and teachers and talk a little with them about it, then I started my time of writing. A month later, I realized that writing was such an amazing thing to do when you get bored and have no one to listen to you. As you know, when you try to talk to someone, in order to deliver your own thoughts to them, you have to construct your words wisely and clearly in order to deliver you message to them. However, you might not be a professional speaker, and you might mess it up on constructing your sentences because it’s¬†impromptu. That was the things always happen to me. My teachers and my friends sometimes don’t understand what I said, the tool I used to solve this problem at the moment was writing. For example, I will send an email to my teachers in class, because there is no time limit, I can slowly construct my sentences with the use of descriptive language in order to state my thoughts clearly so the teachers can understand what I am trying to tell them. I am so happy that this is really working for me, I quickly build up the bridge with my teachers, they are happy to listen to me through the email and try their best to help me solving the problems I have, and I can keep on track in class again with the help of writings.

You never know how much writings can help you, not only building connections with others, but also can spread your thoughts widely. You can deliver your thought to several people by saying out through your mouth, but if you are a good writers, your writings can deliver your thoughts to thousands of people. Such as a french fiction writer named Jules Verne, he wrote many scientific novels which clearly expressed his ideas of some future products which inspired many people in the world at the old time. I still remember the things he stated in his work, “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea”, all those advanced technology really surprised me and keep my curiosity on continue chasing his ideas on the future. Imagine if he just told the story verbally but without writing it down, there will be less people can hear his creative ideas now and we may not understand his ideas that well since changes are always occur when people try to transfer the data verbally.

Writing is like a opened gate to help you to explore yourself and the world. Sometimes I will write a little to record the best moments in my life. Every time I write, I feel like it’s another chance for me to rethink about the things I’ve done or what was actually happening in the world, I can write slowly and construct a proper structure, and then gently put my experiences and ideas in certain area of my writings. The writings make me think again and again as the time I write, and sometimes there will be some creative ideas coming up which I feel so happy about it. Writing really works for building your thoughts and help you to chase for happiness.

If you are asking me about a thing we can do to relax ourselves which cost less and we will be happy about it, I will tell you it’s writing without any hesitations. You write, you think, you can also deliver your thoughts to other people and your writing may bring small changes to the world we have for now. And all you need to achieve this goal is just a pen and a piece of paper, so why not writing?



The memories and the struggle

In the book “Station Eleven” written by Emily ST. John Mandel, it tells the story about the destruction under the Georgia Flu and how people struggled for their lives after the this with the support of their memories left in their minds. After the happening of this huge disaster, people seemed to be¬†vulnerable, the legacy of human seemed to be the only support for them to continue living on this planet.

Through the reading from part 4 to part 6, we can feel the sense of vulnerable at several scenes. After facing so many deaths from the Earth, the one who was left over and faced the huge destruction of the Georgia Flu, what is their choice after? To be disappointed and wait for the deaths come to them or stand up and continue struggle for living. Everything seemed to be very heavy to the people who were left over. In Chapter 37, ” My memories from before the collapse seem like dreams now. I remember looking down from an airplane window, this must have been sometime during the last year or two, and seeing the city of New York” (Mandel, Page 195.) we could feel a sense through the conversation which was that the more you remember from the past or the more you experienced from the past, the more you would be hurt.

The part which shocked me a little was the suicide of Jeevan’s brother, Frank. As we know, Jeevan was taking care of his brother, Frank. Their fates had been connected to each other after the outbreak of Georgia Flu. If Jeevan continue staying with Frank til the end, they both might not escape from the death of sickness. However, at this moment, Frank chose the suicide which means the closeness of survival to death. Jeevan will be struggle on his own later on and might have a bigger chance to survive, it was crucial but it was inevasible. At the end of this chapter, the author mentioned, ” keep walking. Keep walking. Keep walking. He looked up and met the eyes of an owl, wathcing him from a snow-laden branch” (Mandel, Page 194.) Here implied that he had to face the reality and moved on, and his fate would take the influence from his brother and he would be saved by his brother’s scarified.


What’s the future to you

Now we are reading up to the part two and part three of the story, “Station Eleven” which written by Emily St. John Mandel, it was basically telling about the life of a Traveling Symphony in the later twenty years after the break out of the Georgia Flu and part three was about the past story of Arthur Leander before he died on the heart attack. Through all contents from part two and part three, all you feel was the very pity to the past on the Earth and hopeless for the future life, however, life was still goes on and you still had to struggle.

In the beginning of part two, Mandel first introduced to you a new group to the story which was the Traveling Symphony, they were keep moving under a hard condition in the later twenty years after the flu destroyed the whole world. She said, “Tree pressed in close at the sides of the road and erupted through cracks in the pavement, saplings bending under the caravans and soft leaves brushing the legs of horses and Symphony alike. The heat wave had persisted for a relentless week” (Mandel, Page 34.) Mandel used a lot descriptions on the environment to create a vivid image for us to understand the hard condition of the Traveling Symphony, even the condition was hard, this group still kept moving, and comparing to other people, this group seems more like about the works from Shakespeare. Maybe that was the thing which encourage them to keep moving forward.

The sentence which impressed me a lot was the line of text across the bottom of the comic book, “Station Eleven” from Kirsten, it said “I stood looking over my damaged home and tried to forget the sweetness of life on Earth” (Mandel, Page 42.) This sentence is telling the main idea throughout part two, it was true that their sweet home on Earth was already damaged, they had no ideas what to do after, they did not know what to do for this hopeless future for them, all they can do was just stick to what they were doing and struggle for living in such a bad environment on Earth. This scene really reminds about the TV show, “The Walking Dead”. What’s the future mean to them so far, and they did not have the exact answer for this yet.

Part 3 began showing the memories of Arthur Leander well before the Georgia¬† Flu at the moment Kirsten was collecting the photos of Arthur to think back about the past life. This part is basically about Arthur’s start of his career and his past relationships, especially the relationship between Miranda and him. And how Arthur became an important part of Miranda’s life. I was not so interested in this part, but I still saw that Arthur did help Miranda a lot without realizing it.

The author put the flashback of the main character such as Arthur, this made the contents of the story getting completed, it greatly help with the development of the plot.