What does "Context is all" mean?
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Atwood emphasises how changes in context affect behaviours and attitudes by repeating the phrase "Context is all" throughout the novel, establishing this precept as a motif (e.g., 144, 192). Playing the game of Scrabble with her Commander illustrates the key significance of changes in "context"; once "the game of old men and women", the game became forbidden for women to play and therefore "desirable" (178–79). Through living in a morally rigid society, Offred has come to perceive the world differently than earlier. At one point, Offred is amazed at how "It has taken so little time to change our minds about things" (36). Revealing clothes and makeup were part of her former life; yet, when she encounters some Japanese tourists wearing these, she is intrigued by her feeling that they are inappropriately dressed (36).