The Handmaid's Tale
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The Handmaid's Tale is not only a radical and brilliant departure for Margaret Atwood, it is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. 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 reacted 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. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment's calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions. The Handmaid's Tale is funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best.
Fascism in America
A great story! This is the type of control which is handed over when we vote for those who pass out government checks and "benefits", rather than voting for those who actually believe in Freedom and personal responsibility. If we so quietly expect those in charge to just "do the right thing" because it is right, we will be sorely disappointed. The form of control any "regime" takes will vary. However, there will always be enemies of the state in a Fascist government. Bias against these "enemies" will be based upon political or religious views, etc. Americans need to get their faces out of Dancing With The Stars and other such diversions, and first study History and vote accordingly. Stop taking the hand out, and start being responsible for your own financial situation. It's called a Work Ethic.
A cautionary tale well heeded
With the current climate of religious fervor in politics, this book should be required reading. Call it theocracy, totalitarianism, or dystopian, Gilead is a warning of what may become of us if we lose hold of our rights and freedoms especially due to fear and superstition.
The Handmaid's Tale
I enjoyed reading most of the book...much of it was quite frightening. However, I felt the ending was a complete cop out. Could Atwood not figure out how to tie up the loose ends or complete a tidy ending either happy or tragic? The anthropological ending was too convenient and a huge disappointment...made me feel as though reading the book had been a waste of my time.