What is authors style of writting in the first chapter ?

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In the story "The Handmaid's Tale" the author uses flashback devices to take the reader to the barrack like location of the girls.  They are contained in a prison like environment where they can not escape and the gymnasium is surrounded by barb wire.  They are devoid of hope and entrapped in a cold uncaring environment.  By employing the use of flashbacks the writer prepares the reader to enter the present where life is a struggle. The main character is a handmaid which means she will become a mother, a reproductive vessel. 

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