lit paper1 - Vita Yegorova Jenny Zhang 08G 001:072 T/TH...

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Vita Yegorova Jenny Zhang 08G: 001:072 T/TH 2:30-3:45pm Don’t Judge A Book by Its Cover "Don't judge a book by its cover" is a common phrase parents tell their kids as they are growing up. This phrase should not be taken literally; it is supposed to teach a lesson about making judgments about others. Even though appearance is the first thing you see of a person, it isn't a good quality to base the rest of their personality on. First impressions count, but it’s important to give someone a chance, no matter how bad the circumstances are. In the book, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, the characters usually don't have the chance to get to know each other. Judgments are made based on the uniform each person wears, which signals whether they are a Handmaid, a Martha, an Aunt, a Commander or a Guardian. Each group of people has their own responsibilities and characteristics, but only those in that group know the truth about their kind. Those on the outside can only look at the color of their uniform and judge their character. Offred, who dresses in red, represents a Handmaid; she is valued in society for her ability to reproduce and is under complete watch at all times. Her relationship with the Commander, who wears black, has only one purpose: he must plant his seed inside of her and she must have his baby. Ultimately, he uses her for her reproductive ability. This type of relationship is obscure, yet very common in the Republic of Gilead. Just like it is important to get to know a person before making judgments, it is equally important to understand the Commander and his relationship with Offred before judging their society. At first, the Commander is a very mysterious character. He isn't seen much around the house but stays "in his own quarters, past the dining room and beyond, where he seems to stay most of the time" (Atwood, 17.) His interactions are minimal because he doesn't need to be on good terms with anyone in the house. Since he is the Commander, he has full authority of the house and he doesn't care whether or not anyone likes him. The Commander doesn't even treat his workers like people. When the Commander leads a Bible reading for the women, Offred notices that "he looks us over as if taking inventory" (87.) The Commander sees women as objects, just like everyone else in the Gilead Republic. In this society, the Commander has no purpose to have a personal connection
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with any woman, especially Offred. She is assigned to the household only for reproductive purposes. Having a relationship that crosses that boundary is considered illegal and results in punishment, sometimes in death. Offred shows no interest for the Commander. It has been so long since Offred has been with a man she loves that she is slowly forgetting that feeling. Her job as a Handmaid requires her to be passed between households, or more specifically between Commanders. In her present household, whenever Offred sees the Commander, she is constantly observing him. His black uniform drives her imagination wild, transforming the Commander from a
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This note was uploaded on 04/08/2008 for the course GENERAL ED 08G taught by Professor Zhang during the Spring '08 term at University of Iowa.

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lit paper1 - Vita Yegorova Jenny Zhang 08G 001:072 T/TH...

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