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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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24,44961644 (4.11)1508
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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    krazy4katz: An upside down recommendation, as this is an "all-women" utopia rather than a dystopia, but a fun read.
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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 all 51 recommendations)

1980s (1)
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» See also 1508 mentions

English (595)  Spanish (4)  French (3)  Swedish (2)  Catalan (2)  Finnish (2)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Norwegian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Italian (1)  English (614)
Showing 1-5 of 595 (next | show all)
Very moving. Second time read ( )
  mgriel | Dec 2, 2016 |
Terrifying. ( )
  Juliasb | Dec 1, 2016 |
This is not a good book to read if you just had a baby. Hopelessness in this book is scary. Although you can never feel safe in this world anymore- especially if you are a woman. Apparently she was able to see this in 1984... ( )
  soontobefree | Nov 2, 2016 |
This was a very interesting book. I like to read dystopia books because I like to see the ideas that people come up with for possible futures. I don't know if Atwood wrote this as presenting a real possibility with a hard clear lesson in it or if it was more just a story about human nature. Regardless, I enjoyed it. The context of the story is a little horrifying and it certainly makes you think about hows things are versus how they could be. It makes you appreciate things you never really appreciated before. I do recommend this book, perhaps more for the the female side of the species, as they will relate to it more than males. But it's a great thought provoker for everyone. ( )
  Kassilem | Oct 28, 2016 |
Set in an unlikely but not impossible alternate America, this is a powerful and chilling tale of a land dominated by religion. Executions for are common. Suspicion is universal. There is no joy, no love, no freedom, and no choice...especially for women. They are essentially property. They cannot own anything themselves. They are not even allowed to read. All they may have, all they may know comes from the men who dominate their lives.

The story takes the form of an account by a woman who was a handmaid, part surrogate womb, part passionless concubine, whose only role in society is to provide a baby to a family that the wife and husband cannot conceive on their own. Her only power, her only choice is to comply or kill herself, which would be difficult in that she is not allowed access to sharp objects or anything else that might assist her in this.

It's a frightening and cautionary story, although not one to my personal taste. I tend to prefer fiction that follows interesting characters overcoming difficulties. This is more of a tale of a fairly drab character attempting to cope by resigning herself to a difficult situation. It has more angst, more 'woe is me' reflections, than I normally care for. I am angered by the world portrayed and sad for the characters living in it, but that's not what I normally turn to fiction to provide. There is enough in nonfiction to alarm me. ( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 595 (next | show all)
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.
 
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.
 

» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Atwood, Margaretprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alfsen, MereteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Balbusso, AnnaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Balbusso, ElenaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Battey, FrancesCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Danes, ClaireNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marcellino, FredCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martin, ValerieIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennati, CamilloTranslatorsecondary 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 withhold 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.)
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 (4)

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:22 -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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