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Katherine Wang Devin Loree English Literature October 30th, 2014 The meanings of “Context is all” in The Handmaid’s Tale In this society, people will always have labels on themselves, which will define their personality, their status and their identity. The labels are indispensable and play significant roles in people’s life. Without such labels, they will not define themselves accurately, the words will be explained wrong and their true self will be revealed. As mentioned in The Handmaid’s Tale, written by Margaret Atwood, “context is all” means that one’s identity will define their act, the background is important in analyzing words or sentences and one always displays persona to delude others. To begin with, “context is all” means that one’s identity defines everything, allowing aristocracy to be more noble or the humbler to become more inferior . For example, Commander’s wife regards Offred as nothing, who cannot even be compared to servants by stating that “Don’t call [the Commander’s wife] ma’am, [Offred] is not a Martha”(Atwood 15) irritably. Offred’s identity as a handmaid constructs her low status and the hatred and despise from the Commander’s wife. Moreover, Atwood indicates that because of Nick’s “low status”( Atwood 18), he is not allowed to “[be] issued a woman, not even one” (Atwood 18). Since “context is all”, Nick has to obey the rules, to be isolated from the society and “lack of connection”( Atwood 18). What’s more, Atwood demonstrates Offred’s low position that even when she has sex with the Commander, “[Offred] is in control, of the process and thus of the product”( Atwood 94). With Offred’s identity as a handmaid who serves the Commander and gives birth for him, she is destined to suffer such humiliating process “two women at once”( Atwood 94) and can do nothing, for the identity defines everything and she cannot change…...

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