Blog #1 “The Meaning of Color” By: Erica Borges

The first few chapters really made me realize the extreme contrast between the different worlds. Ours and the world of the Handmaids. The first chapter gave us a glance into what I believe life was like right after the coup and the government change, something we probably all find terrifying and difficult. Overall, the chapters had a ongoing theme. Colors. Each color representing a different status symbol. Red, the color of the Handmaids- red like blood. This gave me the feeling that the handmaids, although considered respectable, ” They are supposed to show respect, because of the nature of our service” (29), are supposed to stick out, like in the Scarlet Letter ( red is negative in that novel, but honorable in this one), i found that to be quite ironic. Blue, green and black are also colors that were presents within these chapters. Blue for the wives, green for the Martha’s and the guardians. Green a symbol of life and freshness, ironic that the people that wear these colors are maids and watchmen. Black is also ironic to me. Black was a symbol of prestige in this world but widows also wore black. Black to me is a symbol of death and as a symbol of ‘nobility’ I believe is strange.

In these few chapters I also saw how Offred’s opinions of life changed. On page 13 Offred says, “A return to traditional values. Waste not want not. I am not being wasted. Why do i want?” This statement shows the struggle she has internally, her desire to accept her presence and her longing for the last.  The most shocking feeling I saw in these chapters, was Offred’s references to suicide. On page 14 Offred says,”It’s those other escapes, the ones you can open in yourself, given a cutting edge” and than on page 19 makes a reference that her window is shatterproof. It appeared to me that these women are forced to make it seem like they are happy, as seen on the last page of the reading page 39, “Yes we are happy, i murmur. I have to say something. What else can i say?”. Well in the previous chapters it is clear that Offred often thinks that suicide maybe easier. Although never stating that, it is implied. Which made me realize that when placed in her situation i am not surprised that women go to the extremes.

This seems like a terrifying world. I am eager to read more but apprehensive of what is to come. I love the use of the colors as symbols and the discreet messages sent to the reader to better understand the handmaids situation.


Atwood, M. (1985). The Handmaid’s Tale. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

2 thoughts on “Blog #1 “The Meaning of Color” By: Erica Borges

  1. I agree with you about how it seems like such a terrifying world and that our world is different from the handmaids. I also agree of how u said it was shocking to read Offereds references to suicide on page 14.

  2. I also find the color red to be ironic, but at the same time appropriate. In the scarlet letter they have to wear the color red to show she committed a sin; adultery. Adultery is also what Offred is committing since she has to have sex with a married man. Maybe the handmaids are so hated by many other women in the society because they represent sin, hence the color red.

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