Author Archives: Adrian

Gilead Changes People

Gilead, once known as America; changed dramatically. Women are seen as tools to make children and men of high standing “abuse” their powers. Offred is a good example who changed. Pre-Gilead, she was a mother and her family meant the world to her. Following the death of the president and literally the world itself, Gilead’s laws categorizes women of lower standards into groups where they either serve men or serve in the colonies.

Offred once determined to find her daughter, now is conflicted between who she truly loves. Does she love the commander, Luke or Nick? This confusion has her thinking things very differently and doesn’t know what to do anymore.

Moira, another person who changed post-Gilead, was not changed for the good either. She was a lesbian and in Gilead, that is frown upon and can lead to death. In chapter 38, Moira was never seen again afterwards. “I don’t know how she ended, or even if she did, because I never saw her again” (Atwood 250). Moira was sent to a prostitution instead of the colonies. She didn’t want to be worked to death and saw clips of the colonies and how badly women were treated there. Even saying that she saw Offred’s mother, who was once a proud woman who believed in her rights. Moira’s will and her beliefs were shattered and maybe even died proud as a woman.

There is still human compassion left in this world

Women in Gilead abide by the laws enforced upon handmaids. As they slave away and struggle to find their place in society. Those who ridicule them, are above them. Love is seen as unnecessary, as it has “nothing” to do with bring offspring to Gilead. Offred is a handmaid and their main purpose is reproduction. They are seen as mindless “dolls” as they are not treated as human beings, rather they are seen as “baby making.”

Back in chapter 16, Offred performed the ceremony with the commander. The act of intercourse is seen only as a duty to perform. Many consider this act as rape, but Offred is given no other plausible choice, but to abide by the rules. Those who do not follow the rules, are sent away. Either they stay “safe” within Gilead or get sent away, is up to the handmaid. Given these circumstances, I believe that this is the best way to find more about her missing daughter. Our protagonist has to kiss up to those above her in the hierarchy. Many questions remain unanswered and getting closer to the commander is one way to find out more about Gilead. “Whatever there is to know.” I  say; but that’s too flippant. “What’s going on” (Atwood 188).

In chapter 23, we see that the commander wishes to see Offred in private. But why does the commander – who saw the ceremony only as a duty to perform, would want to see a handmaid? Further proof is that on page 135, the commander wanted a kiss from Offred. She understands that seeing the commander is wrong because her duty is to reproduce. But to disobey the commander would lead to more trouble because he is literally the household. “But to refuse to see him could be worse. There’s no doubt about who holds the real power” (136). Margaret Atwood builds up this intense vibe, where the commander wants to see Offred in private, only to find it that he wanted to play scramble with her.

I also found it hilarious that all the suspense, hype was built up, just to play scramble. Offred is able to “stretch her legs” as she is able to spell words in the scramble games. I find it comical that the commander acts like a shy, pompous child. He first viewed the ceremony as a duty and now he wants spend more time with her. More importantly on page 140, he wanted her to kiss her with true intent. My initial reaction is, “Wow! This guy may be in love with Offred.” Many thoughts came into mind, where maybe the commander sees her now in a new light. He doesn’t just see her as a baby maker, but rather he views her as a potential human being.

Furthermore, the commander on page 162, is getting really close up with Offred. He seeks for more physical contact and doesn’t realize that there will be consequences if they are see by Serena. But the interaction between Offred and her commander is developing more into a relationship. Those human emotions are seen as blasphemy in Gilead and here the commander is displaying it. Even though he abides by the rules, they cannot control human emotion internally. She is slowly being treated as a equal, a human being.

Women, Reproduction, Feminists, Extremists All in One Book

In “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood, our main protagonist, Offred is a handmaid who serves her commander. They are seen as the lowest in the hierarchy and is demanded the most, as they have the potential to give birth to a deprived nation. Given the circumstances that their life is no longer what is was before, they’re trying to blend in. Those who cannot give birth are seen as useless to society, while man is seen as the dominant figure. Man will not be questioned, unless they associate themselves with abortion or homosexuality. Those who live in Gilead, are living under extreme rules. Women are being oppressed by men and is seen nothing more than a mere tool for reproduction.

In Gilead, women do not have a voice unless she is her social ranking in high in the hierarchy. While women aren’t able to voice their opinion, women like Offred, is trying to get impregnated. Being impregnated in this society is seen to be a blessing to their society. I was shocked when reading this: “It’s Janine, telling about how she was gang-raped at fourteen and had an abortion. She told the same story last week. She seemed almost proud of it, while she was telling” (71). She seemed so proud of being a rape victim but was immediately shut down by Aunt Helena.

Given the situation in Gilead, it seems like society has reverted back to a more older past. Women are seen as tools for men to use and are unable to speak their freedom. Their wings are clipped and literally feels like they are trapped in a cage. Those who are able to give birth, are see as dominant and is shown better care than those who cannot.

Class Notes for 11/2

Freewrite: Reflect on Essay 1 peer review, drafting, revisions, next steps

  • Homework for Next Week: Handmaid’s Tale, III – VIII and blog (Due: Monday 11/6)
  • People’s choice (I and II) by Sunday 11/5

*Next week giving out writing tips (ex: voice, tone, point of view)*


Essay #1

*Introduction most important paragraph*

  • Before turning in the final paper, copy & paste introduction and topic sentences on a new word document -> read it to see if it makes sense.
  • Thesis Statement  ≠ Thesis Paragraph

->leading up to the argument and 3rd person essay. Informal conversation and tone becomes chatty

Analogy: Buy a pizza but get Chinese food delivered instead.

Example Changing from first person to third person:  I think this character did this… VS. This character did this…

Daniel: Introduction is a self contained paragraph.


The Handmaid’s Tale: A lot of unanswered questions.

  • Women are treated unequally
  • Upperclass
  • Confused
  • Difficult

*You can watch the Handmaid’s Tale hulu series but do not blog about it*

Book published: 1986

Characters: Offred is a handmaid (narrator) -> first person point of view

Setting: Gilead

Hierarchy: Castes identity restriction movement and being treated like objects

Colors Associated With Role of Character

Offred/handmaid – red

Martha/maid – green

Commander – black

Wife – Blue





Is her duty to reproduce?

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, introduces us the protagonist Offred. Offred is a “handmaid” and her job is to slide those “DMs” to the commander. All jokes aside I find this to be a bit peculiar how these women are trying to get with one guy. This reminds me of the television series, The Real Housewives or the Bachelorette. But in this case, Offred is trying to grab the attention of the commander and try to produce a child with him. Maybe Offred is trying to change the laws from the inside because the laws seems pretty corrupted.

When I first started reading this, I couldn’t believe that her job was to try to conceive a child with someone else’s husband. “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. That was our fantasies” (Atwood 4). Who are these angels? Are they prison guards? Are these women treated as slaves?

Reading the synopsis got me think about these questions and shocked me because when they said they switched words to pictures on signs, is actually insane. Not only do these women have to fight for the spot next to the commander, they’re also being mistreated by the laws. I continued reading the synopsis and Offred once had a husband and now it is all gone. I am assuming that she lost her husband because of the new laws, and was forced to being a “handmaid.”

We learn that in chapter 4, that guardians cannot do any sexual activity until they become angels. In a way, we get to know where people kind of stand in the new society they are in. Offred is mostly on the bottom, then mistress, guardian, angel, wife, and then the commander. In a way, it is interesting that she has to work her way back up and potentially try to gain back her freedom. This new society they live in now seems like it is ruled under a tyrant because in chapter 6, those who had abortions, were executed. The quote really stuck to me: “This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time it will. It will become ordinary” (33). It got me thinking that this is something they’re going to have to get used to and have to “kiss up” to hierarchy. So far the book has gotten me pretty riled up and excited about how Offred will be able to escape the laws. Or will Offred submit to the laws and give in her body.

Forgotten Memories

Adrian Zhang

Essay #1 Pre-Draft

Forgotten Memories


            A flu name the Georgia Flu has nearly wiping out the population of Earth and those who remain, struggle to survive and find purpose in the lawless world. Devastated, a selection of the survivors finds themselves raiding, committing criminal acts, murder, gone insane, travel or someone has come to a decision that repopulating the world would be a lot better. But what a clear majority of them share, is that they all have “forgotten memories.” Many of the survivors forgot what happen to them before the epidemic and that isn’t okay. What Clark is doing for the future generation is a great example of preserving the past and people’s memories.

Body 1

            Kirsten, arguably the main protagonist, sets out with her crew, the Traveling Symphony, to play their instruments and preform Shakespeare plays for the remaining survivors. The Traveling Symphony face many difficulties such as death and survival. The loss of her family because of the Georgia Flu, traumatizes her. Kirsten chooses to remember certain things that are important to her and any other detail is a blur to her. For example, Kirsten remembers the comics, Station Eleven. “Dr. Eleven, Vol. I, No. I: Station Eleven and Dr. Eleven, Vol. 2: The Pursuit. By Year Twenty, Kirsten has them memorized” (Mandel 42). “Survival is insufficient” (119) means a lot to Kirsten. She in in a world where basically everyone is dead, and the remaining survivors are in it for themselves. It’s a lawless world and what she contributes to the Traveling Symphony is what keeps her going. Art has become one of the reasons why she still surviving. “That everything that has ever happened on this earth has happened for a reason” (59).  Many of the people who have come to watch them preform, enjoy what they do for the community, especially the Prophet.

Body 2

            We can argue that Tyler/the Prophet acts like his father in a similar way. Most children growing up, imitate their parents and his father, Arthur has been in several relationships. Although Arthur may not have been there in his life much, he has impacted Tyler in the wrong way. Arthur’s affairs impact Tyler and ultimately, he marries multiple wives, including those of who are underage. Tyler comes off as an extremist and believes that the Georgia Flu is a “cleansing.” We can see that his ideology is twisted, and we can also imply that his insane mother, Elizabeth, had an impact on his unfiltered language when it comes to his philosophy. “Everything happens for a reason” (253). His memory of his parents is without a doubt messed up and Tyler implements what he experiences in his past life to his current life.


  • What have I done: I have been looking through where to find certain things because I didn’t write on a sticky note.
  • What am I still looking for: Looking for more textual evidence of things to improve upon the paper
  • What am I struggling with: Re-reading the book to find the evidence was a struggle.
  • What I


Closing the Curtain

We come to a conclusion in Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel as Kirsten’s sign of her tattoos isn’t to show that she is violent and we also find out that the prophet/Tyler has been gathering ammunition. This all ties back to the quote “Survival is insufficient” (Mandel 119). We see that the Prophet wants to  prepare for arms and will do anything to get what he wants including holding others hostage or shooting people.

This reminds me of The Walking Dead, where a character named Negan (the antagonist), and he will do do anything to harm many of the protagonist’s friends, Rick. He will murder, he will raid, he will take whatever he wants all in order to assert his dominance to the survivors. He killed two of Rick’s friends to prove his point that he isn’t messing around and that easily bent Rick’s will for a long time. Negan showed no mercy and even took everyone’s guns/bullets just so that Rick’s group will never be able to take action against him and the saviors.

Why can’t these kinds of stories have peace instead of conflict. If this ever happened, why can’t man just get along with another person. There doesn’t need to be this much drama happening. Everyone is facing this messed up reality and it only takes just a little to bend someone’s will. “Tell me what happened,” he said, mostly to distract Edward. The prophet happened” (271). Everyone is on the edge and Edward’s wife was just shot by the Prophet. Edward fears that Jeevan has no idea what he is doing but, regardless Jeevan assures his case that he was the closest thing that the camp has. Majority of the population has fallen due to the Georgia Flu and everything is a mess.

Arthur’s role in the story may be bigger than we first imagined. At first I thought that Arthur was just some guy who died and had no purpose after that. But we can see the impact he has on the many people of the story. Kirsten’s constant reminders of when he died on stage, Jeevan being unable to save Arthur because his lack of knowledge, Miranda, the other two wives (Elizabeth) and of course the prophet himself. Arthur wasn’t in his life most of the time and realizes too late that he wanted to be around his son’s life. In the end, he died alone and many people didn’t like him.

In conclusion, violence is just part of surviving to protect oneself. But those with authority abuses their power to “protect” their sanity.

Art Still Exists Post Apocalypse

Station Eleven  by Emily St. John Mandel shows how the world would be like if around 99% of the population would die to to a disease spreading called the Georgia Flu.

We see that the Traveling Symphony goes around towns to show plays and sing songs but, what the remaining survivors would like to see is Shakespeare plays. Art is a huge way to express oneself and others around you. They appreciate the artwork or give appropriate feedback and shows that mankind is still around. The Traveling Symphony is going around doing what they call “noble.” They need something to signify that they’re still human beings and to show that here is a line from the text. “Survival is insufficient: Kirsten has had these words tattooed on her left forearm at the age of fifteen and had been arguing with Dieter about it almost ever since” (119). Just being “alive” isn’t good enough in this post apocalyptic world. We see later in chapter 20, the Symphony witnessed many corpses and August shows his compassion by praying to the dead. Even though survival isn’t enough, they still need to survive this ordeal and play it safe.

It seemed strange but, the disappearance of Sayid and Dieter was shocking. No one knew where they have disappeared to or where they have gone but many questions do pop up. Why suddenly leave in the middle of their journey? Why did they not say anything before they left? It all ties back to why they focus on art and I believe it is to keep their morale up and their sanity. Just imagining living in a the same world where many have died and you’re just continuing to move forward with nothing to strive for and continue to see many dead bodies. Art plays a huge role for the Traveling Symphony and expresses themselves to one another.

In Chapter 32, I am surprised that Jeevan is still relevant.  Things take a dark turn as Frank is paralyzed and will only slow down Jeevan. He tells Jeevan that he will remain behind. “I can’t just leave you. I’ll leave first,” Frank said (183). He is tired of holding his brother back and no longer feels any attachment to this world.  Many of Frank’s neighbors have already died and he believes that survival is the only thing that Jeevan needs from the outside world. Survival and death plays a big role in this story and has been emphasized a lot throughout the story. Many question what is left of this world to see and they embark on a journey to see if it is truly worth it to live in this world. Many have died and through struggling, we see that expressing their self is the only thing to show for. A passion, to show the world that there is something still remaining in this world besides being a survivor.

Ghost town wanderers

Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel revolves around a epidemic going around called, Georgia Flu.

Part II was very confusing at first but then clear that this was a time skip/leap/post-apocalypse. Many of the population has died out due to the Georgia flu and from what I see, it focuses around Kirsten, a survivor of the Georgia flu epidemic. Some background information about Kirsten is that she saw Arthur die on stage when Jeevan tries to resuscitate him. The story shifts gears and now a group call the Traveling Symphony and what they do is travel to places to play music/preform plays. The epidemic  almost wipes out everyone.  Walking to each city with practically no one vacant in the cities to relieve the event that accord. Back in chapter 6, where Mandel writes about how there was no more of everything. She talks about how the epidemic takes  the lives and many and no one would be left alive to know or remember.

The group wanders to play music for people but would  people really remember, if there is no one to hear it or see their plays. “What was lost in the collapse: almost everything, almost everyone, but there is such beauty” (57). What is nice about the group, is that they go around to find the beauty of the world and what is still left of the world. They find survivors and find out how they go on about their everyday lives post apocalypse. Traveling Symphony takes it upon themselves to travel around places, rather than staying in one area. It reminds me of those kinds of movies where they don’t have a physical location they can call home, but rather they going around with friends or family and wherever they go, they are home. They get to share their music, their plays through the survivors and show them that there is still beauty in this world even though many have died.

A Fitting End for King Arthur

Reading through the first page was a bit dull for me and I’m the type of person who likes hooks. I was falling asleep and the word choice was weird for me. It’s like I was reading Shakespeare all over again and had to somehow make sense of what Emily ST. John Mandel was trying to portray to us. As I continue reading, I noticed that Arthur, a actor, has just died while in the middle of a theater full of people. I was shocked that one of our characters dies so soon and I’m only on the fourth page. We don’t know much about Arthur other than the rumors spreading around him and it makes him sound like he’s a sleazeball.

The narrator is in third person and for me I think that the main protagonist is Jeevan. He was unsuccessful resuscitating Arthur, has relationship issues with Lauren and he now has a drive to be a paramedic.  Given the circumstances, being a paramedic would be a  nice option but, while an epidemic is going on – I wouldn’t even consider going outside. I like Hua as a character. He works at a hospital and warns his good friend Jeevan to stock up. Some textual support would be “He thought of Hua as his closest friend, though they rarely saw one another” (Mandel, 17). Judging from his coughing and where he is right now, I am pretty sure that Hua will be our upcoming victim of Georgia flu and that he went out of his way to warn his friend, Jeevan. This reminded me of a popular TV series called The Walking Dead. The end of the world is happening and humans turning into zombies is sort of similar to what’s going on; everyone is dying whoever comes into contact with the person carrying the disease.

When Hua was talking about how the outburst broke out in the airplane; where a passenger carried aboard the Georgia disease, it reminded me of another zombie movie. The movie is called Train to Busan and literally one person who was infected gets almost everyone killed. The passenger, who was infected couldn’t reply to the train attendant, died to the infection and started killing a majority of the people on the train.

Jeevan wants what is best for Lauren and wants her to stay clear of the Georgia flu that’s going around. Lauren seems to be ignorant and unaware of those around her. “You’re not even listening. You never listen to me…” (Mandel, 24). Lauren ditched Jeevan at the theater and he was so worried about her. His world comes crashing down when he finds out that she left him at the theater because she was feeling “ill.” Jeevan alone had to help the dying Arthur and his dreams becoming a paramedic comes crashing down.Hopefully she doesn’t get a bad ending where she dies but, as a character she seems pretty unreasonable and that’s how people die on zombie movies. This book intrigued me and hope to find out more about the outbreak/epidemic that is going on.