The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec and Toronto. . She now lives in Toronto with novelist Grame Gibson and their daughter. She received an undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her masters degree from Radcliffe College.


Throughout her life, Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and several honorary degrees, including the Governor General's Award, Le Chevalier dans l'ordre des art et des lettres de France etc. She is the author of more than 30 volumes of poetry, non-fiction and fiction, including children books and short stories. She was also very involved in the feminist movement. Atwood has been very much a part of that movement, but she has never been a mere mouthpiece for any group, always insisting on her individual perspectives - which is well illustrated in her novel The Handmaid's Tale (1986). Many readers were surprised to hear Atwood's novel labeled science fiction, but it belongs squarely in the long tradittion of near-future dystopia.


Ofred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, once the United State of America. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets, where pictures have replaced words because women are forbidden to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. The time when they played with their children, lived with their husband, had jobs and money of their own is far behind them. They now live by the rules, dressed with red dresses and stay most of their time in their bedrooms. Life has changed and is not about to return to normal…


I enjoyed this novel. I think she wrote that book to vulgarise the way women are treated now a days and to make us think about what could happen in a future society if women's right are not respected.. A war or a religious movement can easily change the way men treat women, and it's something to think about.

By Nadia-Éva Danella

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