You are here

The Handmaid's Tale

Title : The handmaid's tale
Author : Margaret Atwood
Year of publication : 1985
Published by : Vintage
Genre : Science Fiction / Dystopian

What's it about : When a terrorist attack kills the President and the majority of the Congress in the United States of America, a totalitarian regime takes over to restore order. The US is now called the Republic of Gilead, women are forbidden to read and a new caste system has been imposed. Fertile women, now called "handmaids", are used as concubines by the ruling class in order to reproduce. One of them is Offred. This is her story...

Key characters :

a) Offred - The novel's protagonist. When the new regime came into power, she tried to escape to Canada with her husband and daughter but they were caught. Her daughter was placed in the care of an infertile couple of the ruling class, she was turned into a handmaid and her husband was most likely assassinated. Offred is her slave name meaning that she belongs to Fred, her Commander.
b) Serena Joy - The Commander's wife who's believed to be infertile. She is present every time the Commander has intercourse with the handmaid (once a month) by holding Offred's hands while they're both lying on top of her. *yikes, I know*

c) The Commander - A middle-aged man who tries to make Offred a little more comfortable. When his wife is away, he invites her to his office and they engage in various forbidden activities such as Scrabble and reading. 
d) Nick - The chauffeur who lives with the Commander's family. At first, he acts as a messenger for when the Commander wishes to spend time with Offred but later on gets sexually involved with her. 

What was it like : Pretty scary to read about how easy it was to just wipe out all possibilities for female growth and prosperity. That women were reduced to servants and bearers of children for elite families. No reading, no writing, no meaningful talking. If you're into dystopian fiction, you should totally give it a try! It gets my 4 / 5 ★

Add new comment

Recent content

User login