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Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale Essay

Figurative language was used by Margaret Atwood, through the persona of Offred, to illustrate The Handmaid’s Tale. Figurative Language consists of similes, metaphors, personification, alliteration, onomatopoeia, hyperbole and idioms.

First, figurative language can be used to describe different settings. 1. Offred’s experience at night in her bedroom “The heat at night is worse than the heat in daytime. Even with the fan on, nothing moves, and the walls store up warmth, give it out like a used oven. Surely it will rain soon. Why do I want it? It will only mean more dampness. There’s lightning far away but no thunder. Looking out the window I can see it, a glimmer, like the phosphorescence you get in stirred seawater, behind the sky, which is overcast and too low and a dull gray infrared. The searchlights are off, which is not usual. A power failure. Or else Serena Joy has arranged it.” (Pg. 243)

* Similes
* Described the environment
* Room: Glimmer in the window, like stirred seawater
* Heat: Used oven
* Weather: Lightning but no thunder

2. Offred describing the Particicution of a man convicted of rape “There’s a surge forward, like a crowd at a rock concert in the former time, when the doors opened, that urgency coming like a wave through us. The air is bright with adrenaline, we are permitted anything and this is freedom, in my body also, I’m reeling, red spreads everywhere, but before that tide of cloth and bodies hits him Ofglen is shoving through the women in front of us, propelling herself with her elbows, left, right, and running towards him…A high scream comes from somewhere, like a horse in terror.” (Pg. 262-263) * Simile and metaphor

* Ofglen kicked his head several times and later explained to Offred that the man was part of the underground rebellion, so she wanted to put him out of his misery quickly


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