Her first novel, The Edible Woman, sat in a drawer on submission for two years. Permit me a moment of nationalism on that score.
Plot summary[ edit ] The Handmaid's Tale is set in the Republic of Gilead, a theonomic military dictatorship formed within the borders of what was formerly the United States of America. The new regime, the Republic of Gilead, moves quickly to consolidate its power, including overtaking all pre-existing religious groups, including traditional Christian denominations, and reorganize society along a new militarized, hierarchical model of Old Testament -inspired social and religious fanaticism among its newly created social classes.
In this society, human rights are severely limited and women's rights are strictly curtailed. For example, women are forbidden to read, and anyone caught in homosexual acts would be hanged for "gender treachery".
The story is told in the first person by a woman called Offred. The character is one of a class of women with healthy reproductive systems, in an era of declining birth rates owing to increasing infertility.
These women are forcibly assigned to produce children for the ruling class and are known as "handmaids", based on the biblical story of Rachel and her handmaid Bilhah. Offred describes her life during her third assignment as a handmaid, in this case to an important official referred to as "The Commander".
Interspersed with her narratives of her present-day experiences are flashback discussions of her life from before and during the beginning of the revolution, when she finds she has lost all autonomy to her husband, their failed attempt to escape to Canada, and finally her indoctrination into life as a handmaid by government-trained women called "Aunts".
Offred describes the structure of Gilead's society, including the different classes of women and their lives within the new theonomy. The women are physically segregated by colour of clothing—blue, red, green, striped and white—to signify social class and assigned position, ranked highest to lowest.
The Commanders' wives are dressed in blue, handmaids in red, Marthas cooks and maids in green. Striped clothing is for all other women called "Econowives" who essentially do everything in the domestic sphere. Young, unmarried girls are dressed in white.
The Commander is a high-ranking official in Gilead. Although his contact with Offred is supposed to be limited to "the ceremony", a ritual of rape intended to result in conception and at which his wife is present, he begins an illegal relationship with Offred.
Secret meetings occur in his study, which the Commander's wife is not permitted to enter. The room is filled with books and is considered a private place for the man of the house. During these meetings, he tries to earn her trust by talking and playing board games such as Scrabble with her.
He also lets and watches her read, another offense, as women are not permitted to read and write. The Commander offers her contraband products, such as old s fashion magazines and cosmetics.
Finally, he gives her lingerie and takes her to a government-run brothel called Jezebel's. This brothel is meant to add variety to men's sex lives which, as claimed by the Commander, is necessary.
At Jezebel's, Offred encounters her friend, Moira, who had escaped from the handmaid training center, and learns how she came to be there. Moira explains that defiant women who could not adjust to the new society might be offered work at Jezebel's rather than be forced to work in the Colonies, cleaning up radioactive waste.
The women in the brothels are allowed alcohol and drugs, a freedom Offred notes. Though they are allowed to choose their patrons, they are discouraged from refusing a man's advances.Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa, Ontario, in She is the daughter of a forest entomologist, and spent part of her early years in the bush of North Quebec.
She moved, at the age of seven, to Toronto. She studied at the University of Toronto, then took her Masters degree at Radcliffe College. Dec 03, · NPR’s Book Concierge Our Guide To ’s Great Reads. by Nicole Cohen, David Eads, Rose Friedman, Becky Lettenberger, Petra Mayer, Beth Novey and Christina Rees – Published December 3, Margaret Atwood: Physics Complementing Feminism in Literature by Steven Sibol Margaret Atwood is a Canadian writer who is known by many to hold a very firm feministic approach to writing.
The Feminist Approach in Margaret Atwood’s “Siren Song” In Margaret Atwood's “Siren Song”, the feminist analysis is applied in various ways/5(1).
A short summary of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale. This free synopsis covers all the crucial plot points of The Handmaid’s Tale.
Atwood: If it were only a feminist book, you would think, in that case, all the women are over here on the low side, and all the men are over here on the high side. Margaret Atwood’s fiction has tended to attract a fairly conventional critical approach, and this book by Fiona Tolan is no exception. As a writer of enormous range, whose work spans over four decades, Atwood presents a particular challenge for those who would hazard generalizations about her writing. The years in which Atwood was writing her book were the ones in which conservative politics had joined forces with religious fundamentalism to elect Ronald Reagan, and the cultural attitudes toward the women’s movement of the lateth century had chilled into a frozen tundra of anti-feminist sentiment.
Atwood: If it were only a feminist book, you would think, in that case, all the women are over here on the low side, and all the men are over here on the high side.