Literary Devices

  •       Personification-animals with human characteristics
  •       Zoomorphism-human to animals
  •       Metaphor
  •       Simile- like/as
  •       Synecdoche- parts of a whole “all hands on deck”
  •       Metonymy- association with something else “The White House announced…”
  •       Allegory- network of symbols, often biblical
  •       Symbol-
  •       Allusion- reference outside the text- Greek mythology, history, bible
  •       Intertextuality- one text in dialogue with another, whole story refers to another
  •       Irony:   Dramatic-audience know more than characters do
  •       Motif-repeated element ie  image, word, technique
  •       Imagery- description through senses

o   Visual, auditory, kinesthetic, gustatory, tactile, olfactory

  •       Synesthesia-confusion of the senses ie “it tastes loud”
  •       Sayings- proverbs
  •       Rhyme- repetition of sounds at the end of the line

o   Internal rhyme- middle

o   Near- almost but not

  •       Alliteration- repetition of the first sound
  •       Anaphora- I had a dream…
  •       Epiphora- anaphora at the end
  •       Assonance- repetition of consonants anywhere
  •       Sibilance- repetition of s or sh
  •       Euphony- good sounds
  •       Cacophony- bad sounds p, k, b
  •       Onomatopoeia- sounds ie bang!
  •       Caesura- creates a pause
  •       Diction- word choice, vocab

o   Denotation- dictionary definition

o   Connotation-

  •       Semantic field- words that reference to the same type of thing ie colors, nature
  •       Syntax- how the sentence is made
  •       Juxtaposition- putting things next to each other which has meaning
  •       Foreshadowing- a black crow

o   Enumeration- list

o   Parrarelism- same grammatical structure

o   Inversion-

  •       Paradox- contradiction in meaning
  •       Oxymoron-
  •       Pathetic fallacy- weather matches the mood of the person

Handmaid’s Tale Key Points

Concepts and symbolisms applicable to various themes such as politics (POL), power structures (POW), feminism (FEM), and exploration of sexuality (SEX).

Jezebel (FEM, POW, POL)

  • Biblical allegory to Queen Jezebel, who pulled her husband, Ahab, from Yahweh’s worship
  • Used in Christianity as symbol of root of all depravity, and associated with prostitutes because of makeup
  • Offred sees Moira in a Playboy outfit, however not recognizing the symbol due to brainwashing
  • Demonstrates patriarchal divide of women into two types:
    1. Virgin- Marthas, Wive, and Handmaids
    2. Whores
      1. Prostitutes at Jezebel’s
      2. ‘Un-‘ prefix symbolizes dehumanization that refers back to Unwomen (those without offsprings, committed state crimes) and Unbabies- still useless to the society

Historical Notes (FEM, POW)

  • Symposium about recovered tape recordings of Offred’s life
  • Mocking and questioning the truthfulness of Offred’s statements
  • Use of songs to camouflage – songs that supported sexuality may it be with the author or song itself
  • University of Denay, Nunavit- show their inclination to truth which led to their question of the tape’s authenticity
  • Appealing for understanding towards why the Sons of Jacob created Gilead shows how little sympathy they showed towards Offred’s story, and to women in general. She was just seen as a part of history to be studied. Belittling a woman’s life and glorifying a man’s computer documents shows their inclination towards the patriarchy
  • Importance: Inverted Gilead to a wholly different society
    • Whites were the object of the study
    • Names of academics ie Johnny Running Dog suggests the domination of Native Americans

Scrabble game pg. 139 (FEM, POL, POW)

Dramatic irony- the Commander doesn’t know she’s educated

Likened to a


Islamic Revolution

The context of the comic autobiography Persepolis stems from the Islamic Revolution that occurred during 1979. However, knowing what occurred before it would help us understand the story better.


1907 Introduction to a new constitution limiting the powers of the rulers.

1923 Reza Shah, a military commander, seizes power and becomes the prime minister

1926 After Parliament voting on 1925, he becomes crowned ruler as Reza Shah Pahlavi and his son, Mohamad Reza Shah as crown prince.


1935 Renamed Persia to Iran

1941 Deposition of Reza Shah due to his Anglo-Russian Alliance. Mohammad Reza Shah took over

1950 Mohammad Mossadeq becomes Prime Minister, a nationalist

1951 Nationalized the oil industry. Britain imposes embargo o exports creating public tension. Mossadeq vs the Shah continues, and the Shah flees the country

1953 Mossadeq overthrown by CIA and British Intelligence engineered coup, and Shah returns



  • Shah’s campaign to modernize Iran and launches the “White Revolution”, a program for land reform and economic modernization.Increasingly dependent on SAVAK (secret police) in controlling oppositions against his reforms
  • Increasingly dependent on SAVAK (secret police) in controlling oppositions against his reforms

1978 Shah’s authoritarian rule leads to riots and martial law is imposed



  • Shah and his family are exiled
  • Islamic Fundamentalist Ayatollah Khomeini returns to Iran after exiles in France for opposing the regime
  • Iran officially proclaimed as The Islamic Republic of Iran


1980 Start of Iran-Iraq War which lasted for 8 more years

Iran profile – timeline. (2016, December 20). Retrieved April 26, 2017, from