Literature Study GuidesThe Handmaids Tale

The Handmaid's Tale | Study Guide

Margaret Atwood

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic
MLA

Bibliography

Course Hero. "The Handmaid's Tale Study Guide." Course Hero. 28 July 2016. Web. 21 Nov. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Handmaids-Tale/>.

In text

(Course Hero)

APA

Bibliography

Course Hero. (2016, July 28). The Handmaid's Tale Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved November 21, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Handmaids-Tale/

In text

(Course Hero, 2016)

Chicago

Bibliography

Course Hero. "The Handmaid's Tale Study Guide." July 28, 2016. Accessed November 21, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Handmaids-Tale/.

Footnote

Course Hero, "The Handmaid's Tale Study Guide," July 28, 2016, accessed November 21, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Handmaids-Tale/.

Overview

The Handmaid's Tale infographic thumbnail

Author

Margaret Atwood

Year Published

1985

Type

Novel

Genre

Dystopian

Perspective and Narrator

Atwood presents The Handmaid's Tale predominantly through the first-person point of view of the narrator, Offred, a 33-year-old woman. The reader's understanding of events is limited to Offred's understanding of them. The novel is framed by an epigraph, or short quotation, and a final section of historical notes set in the future, in the year 2195, at an educational symposium, where a professor narrates the story of his transcription and study of the text known as The Handmaid's Tale.

Tense

The Handmaid's Tale interchanges present and past tense. The narrator alternates between events in the immediate present and events that happen in both flashbacks and dreams at various times in the past.

About the Title

The narrator is one of a class of women known as Handmaids, women who serve as birth mothers for childless elites. The novel is set in the Republic of Gilead, formerly the United States, where birth rates have dropped significantly due to environmental pollution.

Summary

This study guide and infographic for Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

Buy this book from Amazon.com
Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about The Handmaid's Tale? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!