The Handmaid's Tale is a story told through the eyes of Offred. Offred is a handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, which was once the United States. Offred and the other handmaids only value in this world is the viability of their ovaries. There has been a decline in births, so the handmaids must lay between the Commander and his wife once a month and pray that she becomes pregnant. During the tale, Offred remembers a time long before when she was married to her husband, Luke, and played with their daughter. In the before time women were allowed to work, have money of their own, and have access to knowledge. That is all gone now, life is different. Women are to know their place.
I became aware of The Handmaid's Tale after watching the Hulu Original Series loosely based off of this book. The Handmaid's tale is a tale about the United States of America that has been taken over by a group of religious extremist and imposed a new order on their citizens; women being the main target in this change. They have been stripped of their rights and personal freedoms. Women all have different jobs, and are marked by the clothing they wear. If considered fertile, you would be clothed in red, made into a handmaid and forced to bare children for the Commanders and their wives. The story follows a handmaid, known as Offred, as she learns how to live within these new sets of laws. At times the story can be hard to follow because Offred's story telling jumps between her current time and the time before the takeover. Throughout the book she shows her strength and determination to survive. She is abruptly removed from the Commander's home and placed in a black van. It is unknown what happened to Offred. The story ends with an academic lecture of the handmaid's memoirs, set hundreds of years in the future. Where you learn that Gilead lasted many more years before its collapse.
The Handmaid's Tale is a chilling tale of women being powerless in a new world. Margaret Atwood's writing style seems to serve this tale as a warning of what may occur if we do not protect the freedoms we do have and reminds us not to be quick to lessen someone else's personal freedoms. The story, even with the chilling undertones, is hard to put down. It pulls you in and you want to know more about Offred's life as a handmaid.
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