The Handmaid’s Tale


Margaret Atwood

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on The Handmaid’s Tale makes teaching easy.

The Handmaid’s Tale Symbols

The Color Red

The color red appears constantly in the novel. Red is the color of the Handmaids, a color associated both with shame (think of The Scarlet Letter) and with ripeness and fertility. Offred expands the… read analysis of The Color Red

The Eye

The novel is filled with eyes, which represent key topics like paranoia, surveillance, and Gilead’s authority. The Eyes are the terrifying, violent and secretive enforcers of Gilead’s laws. As Offred worries that anyone she meets… read analysis of The Eye


Makeup contains many contradictions relating to power and sexuality. It signifies femininity, the past, and Offred’s lost freedom to control her appearance. But others, like the Commander, think that the lack of makeup… read analysis of Makeup