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Would You Want to Stay Alive, Or Live? Review of Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”

By Crossstitchyourheart @TMNienaber

Would you want to stay alive, or live? Review of Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”Offred is a handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, what was once the United States of America. After a terroist attack that left the country without viable leadership a militarized group of Christian zealots steps up to fill in the void and establishes their own reign of terror.  But Gilead could not have been built in a day and Atwood leaves you wondering just how close to home the terrorists who
overthrew America were.

But however Gilead came into being, it exists, and it is Offred’s job (along with the other handmaids) to get pregnant.  Every commander is given a handmaid in the hopes this woman will be able to bear a child for him if his Wife cannot.  That is the handmaid’s only job.  In fact, that is the job of every woman.  While Gilead is obviously run by men, it is women they claim to hold above all others.  It is a society of repressed females where women are doing the repressing. The Wives have control over their household’s handmaid and will punish the woman for inappropriate behavior.  The handmaid’s are responsible for keeping track of each other and reporting anyone who could be seen as a threat.

The story is Offred’s narrative, dictated after she leaves the Commander’s household.  What happens to her is never known for sure, Atwood leaves her ending up to your personal interpretation

Would you want to stay alive, or live? Review of Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”
but leaves you enough hints to go in all kinds of directions.  (Personally, I like to believe the best, but that’s just my optimistic nature and desire for a character I like to have a happy ending).  Not only does Offred tell you about her life in Gilead, but also about her life before the change.  Atwood gives you a glimpse into the kind of world that made it possible for Gilead to exist as well as a look inside the character of our narrator and kind of person she was.

It’s an interesting (although frightening) idea to ponder.  How would you change if you were suddenly thrown into a society completely different from the one you’re

Would you want to stay alive, or live? Review of Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”
currently living in with no say in the matter.  It’s adapt or die.  I’ll be honest.  Most of the time I play by the rules, I believe in getting things through hard work, and contributing to society.  How would I react if my role in society was suddenly changed.  If I, as a woman, was forced to become a handmaid. Would I resist? Even if that meant certain death?  Would I keep quiet and look for my loved ones on the sly? Or would I just  give in? Would I just conform to the way things were, keep my head down, and try not to be noticed?

What would I value more: staying alive or living?

Atwood has already proven herself a master of the dystopia.  I shouldn’t need to sell you on her skill, plenty of reviewers with a lot more clout and experience than me have already done that.  What I will tell you is that “The Handmaid’s Tale” is a classic, it will make you think about your life, and it’s a tale that moves quickly while you desperately want to find out how it ends, only to be given the option of creating the ending for yourself

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