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The Handmaid’s Tale: (c) Feminist tract?

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 Lesson focus: Tale > Feminism and The
 To examine the feminist content Handmaid's Tale)
of the novel. Lengths of coloured wool or
string could be used to
connect these points.
 Opening exercise: (Themes and significant ideas
 Copy the critical theory in The Handmaid's Tale >
summaries on the page Doubling in The Handmaid's
Critical approaches to The Tale)
Handmaid's Tale > Recent critical
interpretations of The Handmaid's
Tale.  Recreative task:
 Put them on separate cards, and  Each student chooses any of the
distribute amongst the students. female characters (except
Give them a short time to find Offred) and writes down five
aspects of the novel which fit questions they would like to ask
the theory on their card. that character.
Discuss these, and explore Set up a hot-seating exercise.
how useful such theories are Alternatively, swap your
in making sense of a text. questions with another
student, and write the
character’s answers.
The Handmaid’s Tale:

 Textual examination: (Characterisation in The
Handmaid's Tale)
 Divide the class into five groups:
The Marthas
The Aunts
(c) Feminist tract?

The Handmaids  Critical task:
Women at Jezebel’s  ‘A male reader will find the
The Commanders’ Wives. novel’s view of men unacceptably
 Each group presents a negative.’
poster/display about themselves Discuss this comment in the
on a large sheet of paper. This light of Atwood’s purpose in
should show: the novel.
Key quotations (Themes and significant ideas
Atwood’s purposes in creating in The Handmaid's Tale >
the grouping Gender significance and
Specific individuals feminism in The Handmaid's
Perhaps pictures. Tale)
(Characterisation in The
Handmaid's Tale)
 Extension task:
 How do Offred’s mother and child
 Discussion ideas: fit into the novel’s portrayal of
 Each group holds up and explains women?
their poster. Discussion should Create another poster for
ensue. them.
Fasten all the posters on a
wall and look for links and
contrasts across the groups.
(Religious / philosophical
context of The Handmaid's
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