Class Notes 11/9

Homework for 11/14

  • ESSAY #1 DUE BY TUESDAY 11/14 AT 2:29PM. **Remember that the essay must be uploaded to Dropbox by the deadline regardless of class attendance on 11/14** – bring in printed copy to class.
  • Reading assignment for The Handmaid’s Tale Parts IX-X with blog due Monday 11/13 by Midnight.


  • Check requirements for Essay and read through Guidelines before submitting essay.
  • Submit essay with (First name, Last name, Essay #1)
  • Use ONLY novel as source
  • Check “How to revise” post for help
  • Tomorrow 11/10 is the last day to drop class with a grade of W.


  • Look over pages 93-94 (where ceremony takes place) and how it juxtaposes the birthing process in page (109) importantly the interaction between Offred and the commander’s wife.
  • Think about and look over

1. Objectify-  To turn/treat something like an object (in the novel how Offred is being treated as an object by Serena Joy and the Commander.

2. Commodify- To make something (in this case someone) into a commodity.

3. Devalued- To make something less valuable (Offred during the ceremony)

4. Perfunctory- An act/gesture done with minimal effort (not doing it for pleasure or because you want to)

5. Desexualized- deprive of the qualities of sex (the notion that sex is done for pleasure, with a loved one)

6. Functional/Transactional- Ceremony made into a transaction.

  • “Household” and how it is described and translated in novel (81) “that is what we are. The Commander is the head of the household. The house is what he holds. To have and to hold, till death do us part. The hold of a ship. Hollow.”
  • The rest of the household is involved in the ritual (Rita, Cora, Nick) but all seem to have a different tone/feeling towards the ceremony. Rita and Cora are annoyed, resentful because they could be doing something else and demanding.
  • The small interacting Nick and Offred have before the ceremony is an important piece in which Offred has a heightened, arousal with a simple touch. *The touch (nonsexual) was more intimate than the actual sexual act which occurred afterwards.
  • Look over the phrase which grounds Offred “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum” which loosely translates into “dont let the bastards grind you” *the translation does not really matter at this point but what the finding of this phrase means to Offred and how it brings her pleasure because of the secrecy.

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