In The Handmaid’s Tale, flowers play an important role in the story. The protagonist, Offred, is a handmaid who is assigned to work in the household of the Commander. The Commander’s wife, Serena Joy, is a woman who is not able to have children. As a result, Offred is tasked with bearing children for the couple.
Throughout the story, flowers are used as a symbol of hope and resistance for Offred. When she first arrives at the Commander’s house, she is given a bouquet of flowers by another handmaid. This act of kindness provides Offred with a moment of hope in an otherwise bleak situation.
Later on in the story, when Offred is pregnant with the Commander’s child, she is given a gift of flowers by Serena Joy. The flowers are a symbol of the hope that Offred feels for her future and for the future of her child.
At the end of the story, when Offred is about to be taken away by the authorities, she sees a field of flowers growing near the house. This final glimpse of beauty is a reminder to Offred that there is still hope in the world, despite the oppression that she has faced.
The flowers also act as a reminder that she is not yet dead, and that there is still hope for the future. The occasional use of flower imagery in The Handmaid’s Tale can be seen as optimistic; despite the difficult situation the characters find themselves in, they are still surrounded by natural beauty.
One of the most significant uses of flowers in The Handmaid’s Tale occurs when Offred goes to visit Jezebel’s, a brothel. The reader is told that: The walls were papered with what must have been actual pre-Gilead playbills: men and women naked, in various activities… There was even a huge photograph of a nude woman on one wall, with real roses taped all over her nipples and pubic area. The flowers here are significant for a number of reasons.
Firstly, they contrast with the sterile atmosphere of Offred’s life; she is not allowed to see or touch any kind of nature, yet in Jezebel’s, it is everywhere. The flowers also symbolize the sexual freedom that the women in Jezebel’s enjoy; something which is denied to all other women in Gilead. The fact that the roses are taped onto the body of the nude woman suggests that this freedom is not natural or easy to come by, but has to be fought for.
The final use of flower imagery that will be discussed here occurs when Offred is taken to see The Commander. He shows her his collection of historic items, and amongst these is a small bunch of violets. The violets are significant because they symbolize love; something which The Commander clearly does not feel for Offred, despite the fact that he sleeps with her. The use of flower imagery in The Handmaid’s Tale is skillful and effective; it helps to create a vivid picture of the world in which the characters live, and also serves to intensify the emotions conveyed by the novel.
The total concept of anything developing may be regarded as a substitute for the development of a child. The Commander’s home features numerous paintings, which are visual representations, and thus flowers are still permitted. When Serena snips off the seed pods with a pair of shears while aiming them at the fruiting body, it appears that all life is being destroyed, even that of the flowers.
The colors are significant: blue is for the Virgin Mary and red is for blood. The flowers, then, symbolize both life and death, hope and fear. The handmaids are required to wear red dresses and white bonnets when they go out in public, which further emphasizes the symbolism of these colors.
The flowers in The Handmaid’s Tale represent hope and life in a future that seems bleak and full of despair. In a world where procreation has become difficult, the flowers represent the possibility of new life. The characters in the novel often seek solace in nature, finding beauty in the simple things like flowers. For Offred, the flowers in the Commander’s house are a reminder that there is still beauty in the world, even in a world that has been taken over by a repressive regime.
Handmaids wear red, while Wives wear blue in the Republic of Gilead; these colors are intended to represent the personality of the wanton Handmaids and demure Wives. The blue eyes on Offred’s wall allude to her status as a black sheep in her family. In Serena’s garden, Offred describes a number of flowers. Light blue, light mauve, and darker versions are included; with the Bleeding Hearts being such feminine-shaped that it was a surprise they had not been eradicated recently.
The flowers in Gilead are a contrast to the world that Offred inhabits; they are living, growing things in a society that is sterile and dead. The flowers also represent hope, something that is in short supply in the Republic of Gilead. The hope that one day the world will be different, that she will be free.
The flowers give Offred a connection to the past, to a time when she was free and could do as she pleased. They are also a reminder of her own femininity and sexuality, two things that have been taken away from her in Gilead. The flowers are important to Offred because they represent everything she has lost, but they also represent everything she is fighting for.
Offreds description of her life in the red room, along with her observations on gender and politics, are woven throughout this story. Offred’s tale takes place in a highly divided landscape—one that is symbolically colored in different hues. Whatever is silenced will clamor to be heard, although silently.
Many references to tulips can be found; when Offred sees the hanging bodies at the Wall, their bloodiness is comparable to that of the crimson flowers. This comparison can be made to Plaths poem Tulips, which she wrote while hospitalized. The tulips are far too vibrant in the first place; they’re painful for me.
The vase was deliberately chosen to be white and tall, in order to make the tulips seem even more red and out of place. The fact that Offred is drawn to them anyway, despite their violent connotations, suggests that she is still holding on to her own humanity and femininity. The flowers also represent hope; after all, it is a garden, and gardens are places where things grow.
In a society where procreation is so highly valued, the idea of growth and new life is naturally hopeful. The flowers therefore can be seen as a symbol of hope for Offred, and for the other handmaids. They remind her that there is still beauty in the world, and that perhaps one-day things will change for the better.
The clash between them and my wound is analogous. Around my neck are a dozen crimson lead sinkers. The shade of red used in The Handmaid’s Tale’s description also has some violent connotations, as it is compared to something that is beginning to heal. Offred, on the other hand, quickly leaves her neurotic frame of mind once she learns that the tulips are not blood-colored flowers. Small blue flowers, forget-me-nots, and curtains in matching hues decorate the bathroom at this home.
The blue of the forget-me-nots is significant as it is traditionally seen as a color associated with purity, innocence and faithfulness. The flowers in The Handmaid’s Tale are often used to symbolize hope, fertility and rebellion. The characters in the book use flowers as a way to communicate their thoughts and feelings when they are unable to speak openly.