The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - Book Review

The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - Book Review

It may be more famous for its media adaptations, but the book still arguably holds more depth than any of them.

Atwood’s bestselling novel narrated by a female protagonist; Offred, takes place in what was once the United States of America but has become the envisioned Republic of Gilead, in a future that is not too far off from today.

Offred talks to the readers about the reality of the new regime, as she is of the generation who have lived the first half of their lives in the USA we know today, and the other half under the misogynistic, totalitarian regime that takes cover under an extremist Christian robe.

In the horrendous world where Offred lives, women have been reduced to breeding machines to overcome the decline in birthrates. In this mortifying tale, women of all social classes are no longer allowed to be individuals; they are not allowed to learn, to read, to work, or to have money of their own.

The fertile women are assigned the role and title of Handmaids, each household that has trouble conceiving a baby is assigned a handmaid to carry the child of the master of the house.

Handmaids are robbed of any power over their bodies or their outfits or their fates. Even the sexual encounters are done through a strict protocol and must not include any pleasure.

Atwood has skillfully mixed science fiction, fantasia, and almost prophetic insight into how low a society can sink.

What is most haunting about The Handmaid’s Tale is that it is not entirely far-fetched; it is plausible in away. Arguments and justifications used by the totalitarian in Atwood’s tale have been used before, and are being voiced more loudly even today.

As Atwood said in one of her interviews: “It's not me who made this stuff up …. The human race made it up, unfortunately.”

In the book, Offred talks about the slow and scary transformation of America into the Republic Gilead, and how swift it was and how it snowballed out of control. Of all dystopian novels, this one carries the most threatening prophecies.

It warns society in general, and women in particular, that this is what could happen if we are not awake, a message that is heard loud and clear in Offred’s words: “I was asleep before. That's how we let it happen."

Book Details

Title: The Handmaid's Tale
Format: Paperback
Author: Margaret Atwood
Language : English
Publisher : Klett Sprachen GmbH
ISBN: 978-3125776920

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