The Handmaid's Key Quotes: The Home

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  • Created on: 20-02-18 21:57
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  • The Handmaid's Tale Key Quotes: The Home
  • "A room in a rooming house, of former times, for ladies in reduced circumstances."
    • Chapter 2. This is a house, not a home. The room is not individualized or welcoming. Any Handmaid could live there, and more than one has.
      • The privilege of a single room can be seen as one of the few things left to Handmaids, it also denies them companionship and conversation.
  • "The door of the room—not my room, I refuse to say my—is not locked."
    • Chapter 2. "The narrator emphasizes how she uses language to retain a small amount of control over her situation."
      • Significant that Offred distances herself from her room, her only place of privacy as an act of rebellion.
  • "Her speeches were about the sanctity of the home, about how women should stay home."
    • Chapter 8. Serena Joy advocated for the domesticated wife and this is the reality she has been confined to.
      • Atwood commenting that toxic views like these could lead to oppressive societies such as the Republic of Gilead.
  • "The kitchen smells of yeast, a nostalgic smell...This is a treacherous smell, and I know I must shut it out."
    • Chapter 8.  The narrator has to "shut out" the good and homey smells of yeast and bread-making because they remind her of the past.
      • This could incite a rebellion that could cost Offred her life. That is why it's 'treacherous.'
  • "There has to be some space, finally, that I claim as mine, even in this time."
    • Chapter 9.The idea of having personal space seems to become necessary to hold onto her sanity. The room, despite its limitations, is almost magical in its ability to transform itself into "a waiting room" when the narrator waits, versus a "bedroom" when she sleeps.
      • Idea of the necessity of autonomy and independence to an extent even in trivial things.
  • "So the hotels, with Luke, didn't mean only love or even only sex to me."
    • Chapter 28. The domestic sphere can have sentimental value. It is supposed to be a safe haven and an escape from the harsh realities from the outside of the world. In Gilead however, the Commander'sHouse is the harsh reality of the world.
  • "In a strange way I feel comforted, at home."
    • Chapter 39. Significant that Offred feels the most at home in a hotel-turned-brothel. Could be because of memories with Luke or because she is in an environment that is free from the social expectations placed upon women in mainstream Gilead.


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