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The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
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The Handmaid's Tale (original 1985; edition 2006)

by Margaret Atwood

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22,36251756 (4.11)1377
Member:aliastori
Title:The Handmaid's Tale
Authors:Margaret Atwood
Info:Cornelsen Verlag GmbH C (2006), Paperback, 136 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)

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    sparemethecensor: The Handmaid's Tale is the classic forerunner to dystopic fiction of sexist futures. When She Woke picks up the mantel with a more modern version of a misogynistic theocracy taking over government. Both show terrifying futures for the state of women in society.… (more)
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» See also 1377 mentions

English (497)  Spanish (4)  French (3)  Catalan (2)  Finnish (2)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Norwegian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (514)
Showing 1-5 of 497 (next | show all)
Such a horrible sad story. I feel the ending....the (star date) 2195 conference chapter was sort of dumbing down to us. The future seemed like an advance sort of ISIS culture. Written in 1998 the shades of life on the strick Islamic states ( as I envision in regards of all the propaganda). A terrible fate for anyone who falls outside the lines of what is fdmanded of a woman/female. Haunting and beautifully written...a warning of what just may be our fate. ( )
  Alphawoman | Apr 13, 2015 |
I just couldn't like this book, I tried and better tried to see the metaphor and simile in it but it was just, for me, a boring drudge through tedium.
Sorry feminists across the world, I know this book is hailed as a great work of literature but I just couldn't see it. The narrative was boring, the characters unsympathetic and one-dimensional, the actual plot just didn't work for me either and there is actually a really serious flaw in the HOW of the writing. There is no distinction between characters and narrator.
The story is disjointed, things are done for the shock value rather than the narrative value and, overall, it's a real disappointment on all levels. ( )
  Cadiva | Apr 1, 2015 |
I just couldn't like this book, I tried and better tried to see the metaphor and simile in it but it was just, for me, a boring drudge through tedium.
Sorry feminists across the world, I know this book is hailed as a great work of literature but I just couldn't see it. The narrative was boring, the characters unsympathetic and one-dimensional, the actual plot just didn't work for me either and there is actually a really serious flaw in the HOW of the writing. There is no distinction between characters and narrator.
The story is disjointed, things are done for the shock value rather than the narrative value and, overall, it's a real disappointment on all levels. ( )
  Cadiva | Apr 1, 2015 |
3.5 ( )
  e-b | Mar 11, 2015 |
Handmaid's Tale is like a fictional version of Anne Frank's diary that describes the life and times of a woman subjugated into a tyrannical and misogynistic theocracy located in a future United States. instead of being confined to rooms behind walls and secret attics, our protagonist is confined by her new rigidly ascribed role in a dystopian society devastated, not by bombs, but by zealotry, fundamentalism, and paternalism run amok.

Atwood's use of the first person and carefully placed flashbacks pull the reader along, asking questions, and empathizing somewhat with the narrator. of course, there are some spots where the narrator becomes less than heroic but that makes this story all the more real and touching.

the lack of exposition to explain the world she's creating gives Atwood's book even more power of actuality. like her other works, you are plunked down in the middle of something and left to figure things out for yourself, only getting a whole picture once you're finished.

the only bug i found with this was the timeline for the social changes to have occurred. Atwood gives little clues as to when this occurred and how long it had been going on. it seems a little unrealistic to me that a social change of this magnitude could have happened within the space of just 5 years-- that's the number that i found to be implied but i could have missed something and be totally wrong about it. on the other hand, perhaps she did this on purpose, leaving us in limbo because the main character's sense of time was compromised due to the new cultural pressures and practices within which she found herself.

the end of the book works well to further the sense of realism but also to raise the narrator from just a very minor character to legendary status. she becomes in the eyes of future historians an important counter-voice in understanding the time period and culture of Gilead. ( )
  keebrook | Mar 10, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 497 (next | show all)
As a cautionary tale, Atwood's novel lacks the direct, chilling plausibility of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World. It warns against too much: heedless sex, excessive morality, chemical and nuclear pollution. All of these may be worthwhile targets, but such a future seems more complicated than dramatic. But Offred's narrative is fascinating in a way that transcends tense and time: the record of an observant soul struggling against a harsh, mysterious world.
added by Shortride | editTime, Paul Gray (Feb 10, 1986)
 
How sad for postfeminists that one does not feel for Offred-June half as much as one did for Winston Smith, no hero either but at any rate imaginable. It seems harsh to say again of a poet's novel - so hard to put down, in part so striking - that it lacks imagination, but that, I fear, is the problem.
 
It's a bleak world that Margaret Atwood opens up for us in her new novel, ''The Handmaid's Tale'' - how bleak and even terrifying we will not fully realize until the story's final pages. But the sensibility through which we view this world is infinitely rich and abundant. And that's why Miss Atwood has succeeded with her anti-Utopian novel where most practitioners of this Orwellian genre have tended to fail.
 

» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Margaret Atwoodprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alfsen, MereteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Battey, FrancesCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marcellino, FredCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sibthorp, FletcherCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister, and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.

And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?

And she said, Behold my maid Bihah, go in unto her, and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her
-- Genesis 30:1-3
But as to myself, having been wearied out for many years with offering vain, idle, visionary thoughts, and at length utterly despairing of success, I fortunately fell upon this proposal. . .
-- Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal
In the desert there is no sign that says, Thou shalt not eat stones.
-- Sufi proverb
Dedication
For Mary Webster and Perry Miller
First words
We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.
Quotations
As all historians know, the past is a great darkness, and filled with echoes. Voices may reach us from it; but what they say to us is imbued with the obscurity of the matrix out of which they come; and, try as we may, we cannot always decipher them precisely in the clearer light of our own day.
Time has not stood still. It has washed over me, washed me away, as if I’m nothing more than a woman of sand, left by a careless child too near the water.
The shell of the egg is smooth but also grained; small pebbles of calcium are defined by the sunlight, like craters on the moon. It's a barren landscape, yet perfect; it's the sort of desert the saints went into, so their minds would not be distracted by profusions. I think that this is what God must look like: an egg. The life of the moon may not be on the surface, but inside.
But remember that forgiveness too is a power. To beg for it is a power, and to withold or bestow it is a power, perhaps the greatest. Maybe none of this is about control...Maybe it's about who can do what to whom and be forgiven for it. Never tell me it amounts to the same thing.
There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia, freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don't underrate it.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The Reading Guide Edition is the substantial equivalent the main Handmaid's Tale work, with a few additional pages of questions for groups to consider at the back. Please therefore leave these works combined together. Thank you
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Wikipedia in English (6)

Book description
From the back of the book: Offred is a handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the commander and his wife once a day to walk to food market whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offredd and the other handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offredd can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke, when she played with and protected her daughter, when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…..
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038549081X, Paperback)

In the world of the near future, who will control women's bodies?

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable.

Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now....

Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid's Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:40 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

A look at the near future presents the story of Offred, a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, once the United States, an oppressive world where women are no longer allowed to read and are valued only as long as they are viable for reproduction.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 13 descriptions

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