Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Poem Analysis


The Raven Poem :)

Summary:
The unnamed narrator is wearily perusing an old book one bleak December night when he hears a tapping at the door to his room. He tells himself that it is merely a visitor, and he awaits tomorrow because he cannot find release in his sorrow over the death of Lenore. The rustling curtains frighten him, but he decides that it must be some late visitor and, going to the door, he asks for forgiveness from the visitor because he had been napping. However, when he opens the door, he sees and hears nothing except the word "Lenore," an echo of his own words. Returning to his room, he again hears a tapping and reasons that it was probably the wind outside his window. When he opens the window, however, a raven enters and promptly perches "upon a bust of Pallas" above his door. Its grave appearance amuses the narrator, who asks it for its names. The raven responds, "Nevermore." He does not understand the reply, but the raven says nothing else until the narrator predicts aloud that it will leave him tomorrow like the rest of his friends. Then the bird again says, "Nevermore."
Startled, the narrator says that the raven must have learned this word from some unfortunate owner whose ill luck caused him to repeat the word frequently. Smiling, the narrator sits in front of the ominous raven to ponder about the meaning of its word. The raven continues to stare at him, as the narrator sits in the chair that Lenore will never again occupy. He then feels that angels have approached, and angrily calls the raven an evil prophet. He asks if there is respite in Gilead and if he will again see Lenore in Heaven, but the raven only responds, "Nevermore." In a fury, the narrator demands that the raven go back into the night and leave him alone again, but the raven says, "Nevermore," and it does not leave the bust of Pallas. The narrator feels that his soul will "nevermore" leave the raven's shadow.

ANALYSIS OF MAJOR CHARACTERS IN "THE HANDMAIDS TALE":

ANALYSIS OF MAJOR CHARACTERS IN "THE HANDMAIDS TALE":



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Offred:

Offred is the narrator and the protagonist of the novel, and we are told the entire story from her point of view, experiencing events and memories as vividly as she does. She tells the story as it happens, and shows us the travels of her mind through asides, flashbacks, and digressions. Offred is intelligent, perceptive, and kind. She possesses enough faults to make her human, but not so many that she becomes an unsympathetic figure. She also possesses a dark sense of humor—a graveyard wit that makes her descriptions of the bleak horrors of Gilead bearable, even enjoyable. Like most of the women in Gilead, she is an ordinary woman placed in an extraordinary situation.

The Commander

The Commander poses an ethical problem for Offred, and consequently for us. First, he is Offred’s Commander and the immediate agent of her oppression. As a founder of Gilead, he also bears responsibility for the entire totalitarian society. In person, he is far more sympathetic and friendly toward Offred than most other people, and Offred’s evenings with the Commander in his study offer her a small respite from the wasteland of her life. At times, his unhappiness and need for companionship make him seem as much a prisoner of Gilead’s strictures as anyone else. Offred finds herself feeling sympathy for this man.

Serena Joy

Though Serena had been an advocate for traditional values and the establishment of the Gileadean state, her bitterness at the outcome—being confined to the home and having to see her husband copulating with a Handmaid—suggests that spokeswomen for anti-feminist causes might not enjoy getting their way as much as they believe they would. Serena’s obvious unhappiness means that she teeters on the edge of inspiring our sympathy, but she forfeits that sympathy by taking out her frustration on Offred. She seems to possess no compassion for Offred. She can see the difficulty of her own life, but not that of another woman... :)