Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale


Yes, I finished reading The Handmaid’s Tale. Actually, I finished some time ago but I just could not bring myself to discuss it. Not that it was as traumatizing as some suggested it would be, but it left me feeling that long mediation was in order. Stephanie made an interesting point that the assumption that infertility was always the woman’s fault. Infertile women were Unwomen and unhealthy babies were Unbabies, but men were never Unmen. The man could be a religious traitor and even a gender traitor, but never an unman. Interestingly enough Serena Joy (the commander’s wife) suspects that it may in fact be the commander that is infertile and subsequently pawns Offred off to Nick. Secretly of course, because in the man world of Gilead no commander could be told that he was Unman.

What was most persuasive with Atwood’s plot here is when Offred tells the story of the first day that women were completely subjugated. She goes in to buy a pack of cigarettes and her bankcard is cut off. Cash currency had already been changed or was worthless because everything had to be bought through a bankcard. In other words she had nothing, no means for anything. I can see that happening so easily now, today! I conduct almost all of my business with a visa check card.

Sex is the center of every aspect of Gilead life. Yet the Republic restricts it by dictating when, who, and how sex can be performed. What did it accomplished? An underground that would eventually subvert their insane efforts to make a pure society. Humans need human contact in order to produce more humans.

I hate to be through with this book, but I am. I just do not feel like dissecting it, it is far too depressing. However, I checked Barnes & Noble to see if The Handmaid’s Tale has been made into a movie and it has. If I remember correctly, Robert Duvall is the commander and Faye Dunaway is Serena Joy. For some reason I picture Nick as Clive Owen, but he was not. Just so you know, Clive Owen is fast approaching major sex symbol status. He is hot and a very good actor. I first fell in love with him in Gosford Park. He played Parks, the one who thought he murdered the character played by Michael Gambon. Also Clive Owen played in King Arthur with that dreary Kiera Knightly (could she please stop clenching her jaw!) and he was the boyfriend I believe in A Richman’s Wife with Halle Berry.

Speaking of depressing, I have started The Picture of Dorian Gray. It has loads and loads of fun dialogue.


4 thoughts on “Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale

  1. You’re right. Everything we have could so easily be taken from us today. It is what sticks with me most. I did like then end when they found her tapes and were dissecting. It gave me a little hope that things didn’t stay that way.I think I’ll see if I can find the movie. I’d like to see it played on in front of me.


  2. I didn’t like it! Not at all and couldn’t finish it. It made me feel as if I was way back in the times I hate to imagine for women in a far to realist way.YUK!But I never like Planet of the Apes either and to me they can be thrown in the same class.TJ


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