Serena Joy. By Micaela P. Vennik and Candice J. Settre. Brief synopsis .
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By Micaela P. Vennik and Candice J. Settre
Serena Joy is the Wife of the Family to which Offred has been made the Handmaid to bare them a child. She in her past was a singer/performer on a religious television show. She was an activist for the introduction to the way in which Gilead is in the book and for women to base themselves in the home, not at work. Her position in the novel is that she is the leader of the household in which offred has been placed. Offred’s purpose for being there is to be impregnated by the commander and then give serena joy the child in which she is able to raise as her own.
She resents Offred because her presence is a testimony to Serena's failure to produce children, which is the purpose of a women's life in Gilead ideology. She is also jealous of the sexual relationship Offred must have with her husband, though this feeling is unacceptable by law.
The stifled relationship between Offred and Serena Joy points to the failure of the government to produce cookie-cutter women for different female roles. For Offred, Serena Joy is the most powerful female presence in her daily life. Unlike other wives Serena joy is called by her name.
In Serena Joy’s past she was a child singing star on a gospel television show. Later she became a media personality and spoke up for ultra-conservative domestic policies and the sanctity of the home. But ‘Serena’s present life is a parody of the virtuous woman’. Her living room is her only place of power. She has become estranged from her husband, jealous of offred and has nothing to do except nit scarves for soldiers and her only self expression is shown through her garden.
“she stays in her home, but it doesn’t seem to agree with her”.
She forces us to confront the theme of identity. She was a model for the Gilead regime but now she is a victim. she has been forced to remain in her home and has lost all individuality and expression in which she had before.
Serena Joys name is a type of motif as the word Joy symbolises happiness. She however is the opposite as she is not happy with the life that in which she is living although she did campaign for it to become the way in which Gilead is. The name Serena also can symbolise serenity and a peaceful tranquil place. Gilead however is not as they are run and controlled by a strict totalitarian state.
The character of Serena Joy is based on a real life woman called Tammy Faye Bakker who ran a gospel television show with her husband in the early 1980’s.
“Knitting away at her endless Angel scarves, turning out more and more yards of intricate and useless wool: her form of procreation”