The Handmaid's Tale - Book thoughts

  • Apr. 29th, 2017 at 6:17 PM
thewickedlady: (Default)
Anyone feel like an old fashioned "let's talk about a tv show" post?

Man, I sure do! Share it around, people!

First, I feel like we should start off with a book talking post. For those that feel like talking about the book, if they so want.

You don't have to have read the book in order to watch the series, I want to highlight.

Starting off, I've read The Handmaid's Tale three times.

The first time was in high school, when I had to be about 15 or 16. My friend that later came out as gay was very deeply into it and the Mists of Avalon, and she had me read it. During that time in the late nineties, some of you I'm sure remember, it was hard then for young women to say "I'm a feminist". It was considered militant to be feminist, remember? The 90s were weird back then. So girl power but yet not pro-woman.

I was a young, southern girl, being raised to be a debutante in a high school that still elected a white home coming queen and a black home coming queen & girls that were showing their pregnancies weren't allowed to walk the stage at graduation (and if you already had a kid, you weren't allowed in classes anymore; you had to go to special classes at the community college).

My second time, I was in college. Just on the outside of the end of a multiyear relationship that had ended with his death and a lot of complex feelings, I read it again. I finally got it. The fear of possession, the impression of the world Atwood gives you rather than the absolute description. I understood a lot more about feminism then too, and I think that helped. I also understood a lot more about Atwood as a writer, which also helped; understanding a writer's hubris and flaws helps sometimes. Maybe also being in a post-9/11, in a time when the internet was more available opened my eyes to other points of view? And the evangelical movements were on a stronger political rise.

The third time was last summer, during the middle of the presidential election. I think I started right after Trump picked Pence as VP. It was painful to read it again, but a needed reminder. After the election, I started thinking of it again rather painfully.

To me, the book has not just been about the lose of rights. It's painfully about what it means to be a woman: to be viewed as an object by not only men but other women. But it is also, to me, about what it means to be a step away from dictatorship.

Atwood wrote it in the 1980s while living in Berlin, not far away from the Berlin Wall. She set it in Boston with the idea about a world thrown back to extreme purtian ideology. It's built on the backs on fundamentalism, lead by women, that build Gilead. It is women that build the cage for themselves, Atwood points out in the book. I always see Serena Joy as Phyllis Schlafly, myself.

Which I think is why the book has become a classic and is still so relevant today: it is much more of an impression of the horror of Gilead than a vivid description. We know Offred's very small, limited world within Gilead and the very few, limited details we get of her before. We never get her name. We are told a few lines of what is happening outside of the home she lives in, at least what she has been told that happens and the dead bodies she has seen hanging on the Wall at Harvard. We get to take in a few details but then create a lot of the rest of the world with our own interpretation of the world, our own Gilead from our own personal experiences.

Comment Form

Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
Account name:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
HTML doesn't work in the subject.


Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.


thewickedlady: (Default)
[personal profile] thewickedlady

Wicked Truth

I'm a southern girl making my way through Yankeeland with a history degree and an artist's soul. I'm a geek and a dork, and I'm okay with that.

Sometimes, I even wear pants when blogging.

[community profile] realistica

Site Meter

Latest Month

October 2017