An Analysis of Narrative Time in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale

Yiyao KONG


Although Margaret Atwood’s 1985 classic novel The Handmaid’s Tale has aroused heated discussion and intensive study since its publication, very few studies set their sights on how the narrative of the story unfolds in time and what special effects it creates. This paper aims to lay bare its subtle and elaborate narrative design of time by scrutinizing the way in which the protagonist Offred narrates the story beyond the limit of time, laying an emphasis on Atwood’s ingenious arrangement in discourse time by examining its time order, duration and frequency, through which Atwood’s unique philosophy of time and her deep concern about the fate of human beings in the future are fully revealed.



Margaret Atwood; The Handmaid’s Tale; Narrative time; Story time; Discourse time

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