September 17, 2012

Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Erin McGuire

Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ became one of my most favourite books. It is wonderful piece of art and activism. Politics, women's role in the society, religion, the dangers of ideologies, so many interesting aspects are brought into this heartbreaking story. Even though the regime described in this speculative story doesn't really exist, not every street on our planet is sunny. Some events, that are taking place in the novel, are not too far from our lives' realities.

The main hero, Offred finds herself in a new regime, where divorce is illegal. She as a second wife of Luke, looses him and her daughter. Offred also knows nothing about whereabouts of her mom. New system demands from her to accept her new role, without any rights and bear children for other, more ‘decent’ families, elite.

Characters in the novel are very believable. From Moira, to Offred, to Aunt Lydia, Offred’s mom, they all have different voices. This was making reading the novel even more interesting. The plot is also captivating, but I was disappointed at the end to realize that life just happens to Offred. She seems kind of passive, doing nothing. Maybe that’s life? Then I was thinking about what WE are doing to change something we dislike?

What was extremely uplifting in this horrifying story is that Offred, whatever her real name was, kept unbroken in her heart. She was strong inside her powerless life. She just kept waiting, like a flower, for a sunshine. Offred  still had the ability and courage to take so much negativity and stay herself.

The family, whom she was serving, were only able to see their perspective. Everything seems different I guess from the angel where you believe you are special and deserve special treatment. How could Offred do this to us, they thought.

Aunt Lydia was most devilish personage.  She reminded me Asineta, Ann Coulter and some other people you’ve never heard of. I don’t know anyone though who fully resembles her. I guess this can happen to anyone, who accumulates hate in herself, lets it rule her mind and starts believing it’s all OK.

I am not sure how, but I felt sentences were rhyming. I was not reading but gliding on the railway like a train. Each word was followed by the word that was perfectly matching. So I read the story very fast.

The cover and the title of the book would never make me want to read it though. I had to remove ugly art to be able to touch the book.

This work has changed my idea about Margaret Atwood. She is now my favourite writer. As a person I always liked her.

Have you read the book too. What did you like about it? Do you know who are the people whom she dedicates her work?

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