Sunday, March 27, 2011

THE HANDMAID'S TALES

THE HANDMAID'S TALE By Mararet Atwood 1986 Pages-311 From Inside Cover: Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States, now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has acted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men of its population. The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. My Thoughts: Two things made me pick this book up. First it's part of a personal challenge to read 100 Classics in 5 years. This book is on the list of must reads. The second reason is the theme of the book which is dystopia which as really caught my interest lately. I seem to be reading and buying a lot of these in the past month or two. This book was written in 1986 and wasn't actually aimed for the YA audience but I think fans of the dystopia genre would enjoy Atwood's tale of the future. Offred is the main character and narrator of the story which takes place after the United States have been taken over. Society has completely changed and women no longer have value. Offred's fate is decided by the fact that she is fertile and had an affair in the past. She is a handmaid. She is to be used for reproductive purposes only. She has been placed in a commander's house to have a baby for him and his wife. If she fails to produce a baby she will be shipped off the the "colonies" where a worse fate awaits her. Right away we are dropped into Offred's new life as a Haidmaid and her new life. Through a series of flashbacks we learnof her past life that involves a husband and a little girl. Page 194: Offred praying to God: I wish I knew what you were up to. But whatever it is, help me to get through it, please. Though maybe it's not Your doing; I don't believe for a instant that what's going on out there is what You meant. I have enough daily bread, so I won't waste time on that. It isn't the main problem. The problem is getting it down without choking on it. Now we come to forgiveness. Don't worry about forgiving me right now. There are more important things. For instance: keep the others safe, if they are safe. Don't let them suffer too much. If they have to die, let it be fast. You might even provide a Heaven for them. We need you for that. Hell we can make for ourselves. I enjoyed reading The Handmaid's Tale. Margaret Atwood builds a fastinating dystopian world. Offred's tale is interesting and terrifying. I think that fans of dystopia would also enjoy reading Atwood. This book can be found at the Salmon Public Library in the Adult Section.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this book! Picked up a free copy post-college, knew it was a modern classic but I hadn't read it, figured I'd give it a try. Ended up staying up until 4 AM to finish it! I definitely think teens today would like it.

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