The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Monday, January 27, 2014

    I've just finished The Handmaid's Tale last night, well this morning since I stayed up till 3 reading it. I couldn't put this book down once I got closer to the end. This book is beautifully written and very thought provoking. Offred, Atwood's main character, lives in a world of oppression called The Republic of Gilead. Specifically oppression of women. The Republic began when someone shot all of the government officials (i.e. President, Vice President, Senators etc.). "They" said that it would take awhile to reelect officials. But it never happens and The Republic begins.
    One person mentioned in my BookTube Reading Buddies group, that Offred's world is a "society built by men who are afraid of women, so they want to control everything about them". I definitely agree with this statement. I remember that Offred even mentions in her previous life that when she lost her job she resented her then husband, Luke, in a way. This past Offred lost her job simply because she was a woman. She also lost her money, as it was transferred to Luke's account, because women couldn't have money. It was easy for Luke because he was a man, he wasn't losing anything. In the Republic of Gilead there were fours status types for women. There were the wives, at the top, then the rest were the Marthas (which seem to be house maids), Econowives (poor wives), and the Handmaid's. (There was one more group but I don't want to mention it because it would spoil the story). What's most coveted in the wives and handmaid's world is having a baby. In the picture below it depicts the part of the story when a woman from Offred's Handmaid's class, Janine, enters a store. You can see the other Handmaid's lean in towards her and look at her. She is the source of their jealousy and their scandalous whispers. In this picture the Handmaid's are wearing their usual uniforms of a red dress, red shoes and their white winged hat.

     Margaret Atwood also uses small stories that are description heavy to tell her big story. I found at first the level of description to be intimidating but then I quickly started to enjoy it. The small stories are in somewhat of a random order. Offred has flashbacks and the story does skip around at points but it always comes back to the main story. The descriptiveness and the order of Atwood's writing gives the story a sense of mystery, which I enjoyed.
     I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves classics, dystopian worlds, and descriptive mysteries. However, if you don't like a ton of descriptions (even though I think the way Atwood writes make the story more interesting instead of boring) maybe this book isn't for you. I gave it a 5 out of 5 stars. Yes, I thought it was that good.

xEmily

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