'The truth is we're watching each other': Voiceover narration as 'split-self' presentation in The Handmaid's Tale TV series

Abstract

Cognitive stylistics offers a renewed focus on readerly or audience interpretation, but while cognitive stylistic tools have been applied in the investigation of literary texts, their application to TV, film and screen has been more limited. This article examines the cognitive stylistic features of the voiceover narration in the first TV series adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale to explore the representation of June/Offred’s ‘split selves’ and how these are mediated through a prominent ‘filmic composition device’. Through analysis of voiceovers and corresponding production choices in series 1, this study explores, first, how the different modes of communication – both choices of visual production (such as shallow-focus shots) and linguistic features (such as ‘you’ address and container metaphors) – combine to show Offred’s split perspective; and second, how these stylistic elements work to foreground the key themes of the series, such as imprisonment, objectification and surveillance.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0963947020905756
Divisions: Languages & Social Sciences > English
Additional Information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Uncontrolled Keywords: The Handmaid’s Tale,cognitive stylistics,container metaphors,split selves,telecinematic stylistics,voiceover narration,Language and Linguistics,Linguistics and Language,Literature and Literary Theory
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Related URLs: https://journal ... 963947020905756 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2020-02-14
Accepted Date: 2020-01-13
Authors: Harrison, Chloe ( 0000-0002-9963-3208)

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