The Handmaid’s Tale


Not that I’m a big fan of Margaret Atwood, but there’s something about her writing that makes me skip a beat every time I read her. She has a way about unbottling innermost thoughts that they sometimes startle you. And it so turns out that, in hindsight, they are nothing but your own thoughts at different points in time. 

The Handmaid’s Tale is no less. At times, it seems far stretched. But it’s only when you get a little deeper that you realize, it’s more than what is apparent. The story builds a country where certain women are enlisted to bear children for the elite. They are pressured under a continuous dogma of doing the holy thing by being what they are, and made to believe they are doing a service to humanity. The Handmaid’s Tale is the story of one such woman.

I wait. I compose myself. My self is a thing I must now compose, as one composes a speech. What I must present is a made thing, not something born.

Well, I wouldn’t call it a fiction altogether, though a lot of it is. The rest is just a manifestation of what is seen all around you and yet unnoticeable. Go out to the market, to your nearest store, to the coffee shop, to the restaurant, in the bus, on the roads. To your own house. You’ll find a handmaid everywhere. In different manifestations. And some call themselves – the housewife (or its latest version – the homemaker).

Atwood, in a conversation with Bill Moyers, speaks about the book,

[But] it’s a blueprint of the kind of thing that human beings do when they’re put under a certain sort of pressure. And I made it a rule for the writing of this book that I would not put anything into it that human societies have not already done.

Societies are ruled by fear. Fear of religion, and fear of god knows what. Religion is something that is (atleast in theory) supposed to discipline people’s minds. But the way it has evolved today, it is one of the most comfortable excuses to create more such handmaids. The looming threat is that of evolving into a dystopian society, if we continue with the oppression of women in the name of tradition and religion.

Margaret Atwood: That’s exactly right. If your government says, “Not only am I your government, but I represent the true religion,” if you disagree with it you’re not just of another faction. You’re evil.
Bill Moyers: But you don’t imagine that could happen here?
Margaret Atwood: Want to bet? Want to lay some bets as to that?
Bill Moyers: I would never bet against Margaret Atwood.

Neither would I.


3 Responses to “The Handmaid’s Tale”

  1. 1 whizkid

    good work..

  2. One of my favorite books too. I was in such a shock for days thinking of the possibility.And I love the way she uses the language.
    Your review is well written too.

  3. Its fantastic as your other content : D, thankyou for posting . “Talent does what it can genius does what it must.” by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton.

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