ENG 3U: Questions for Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale

Describe any of the following characters. Make sure you provide specific references to the text to support your position:

  • Offred
  • The Commander
  • Serena Joy
  • Nick
  • Moira

Some students have questioned Offred’s integrity, arguing that she is too weak and selfish to be a real protagonist. Others have stated that her imperfections simply make her a more realistic character, perhaps reflecting how real humans would respond to similar situations. Explain where you stand on this issue.

At one point in the narrative, Offred retells the same event three times. In each case, she dismisses her previous explanation as a lie, and proceeds to tell the “truth”. What does this tell you about her trustworthiness as a narrator?

The last chapters of the book occur long after Offred’s life is over. Explain how this section answers (or fails to answer) questions you may have had about the novel.

Satire is the amendment of vice by correction, or the attempt to point out our flaws. If The Handmaid’s Tale is a (humorless) satire, what aspects of our society might be the focus of the satire?


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