The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Why Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” continues to be relevant

On the surface, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is a story about a totalitarian society in which women are treated as property of the state. But Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel is also a warning about the dangers of religious extremism and the importance of reproductive rights. Those themes have resonated with readers in recent years, propelling the book to the top of best-seller lists and inspiring a critically acclaimed TV adaptation. Here’s a look at why the dystopian tale continues to be relevant more than three decades after it was first published.

The election of Donald Trump in 2016 led to a renewed interest in Atwood’s novel, which imagines a United States that has been taken over by a Christian fundamentalist movement. Trump’s victory also galvanized support for women’s rights groups such as Planned Parenthood and led to an uptick in donations to organizations that provide abortion services.

Many of those same groups saw their funding threatened earlier this year when Republicans in Congress proposed legislation that would have defunded Planned Parenthood and made it harder for low-income women to access abortion services. The so-called “Handmaid’s Tale Bill,” named after Atwood’s novel, was ultimately unsuccessful, but it underscored the continued relevance of the book’s themes. There are disturbing parallels between The Handmaid’s Tale and the current state of affairs in many parts of the world. The most obvious connection is with the issues regarding women’s rights and religious fundamentalism that are taking place in the Middle East. The book’s depiction of a society in which women are stripped of their rights and reduced to the role of child-bearing machines is not far from the reality in many countries today.

The success of Hulu’s adaptation of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which stars Elisabeth Moss as protagonist June Osborne, has also helped keep Atwood’s novel in the public consciousness. The show has been applauded for its nuanced portrayal of themes such as gender roles, religion, and reproductive rights. It has also won multiple Emmys, including awards for Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

Atwood herself has said that she never expected “The Handmaid’s Tale” to be prophetic when she wrote it, but the book’s warnings about religious extremism and reproductive rights continue to resonate with readers around the world. In today’s political climate, Atwood’s dystopian classic feels more relevant than ever.

The Handmaid’s Tale Summary

Offred is a handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She is allowed to leave the home of the commander and his wife once a day to go to food markets. The signs at the market are now pictures instead of words because women are not allowed to read. Offred must lie on her back once a month and pray that the commander makes her pregnant. In an age of declining births, Offred and the other handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable.

Offred remembers the years before the Republic of Gilead when she lived with her husband Luke, played with her daughter, and had a job and money of her own. But all of that is gone now. The Handmaid’s Tale is a scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.

Readers are left contemplating the frightening possibility that Atwood’s imagined future could become our reality if we do not remain vigilant against the erosion of rights and freedoms. The Handmaid’s Tale is a powerful warning that serves as a crucial reminder of the importance of fighting for our liberties.

About Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale

Born in 1939, Margaret Atwood is a Canadian author who has written extensively on topics such as feminism and environmentalism. Her most famous work is the Handmaid’s Tale book series, which takes place in a dystopian future where women are reduced to second-class citizens. The series has been adapted for television, and has become a pop culture phenomenon. In addition to her writing, Atwood is also an activist and inventor.

Spread the love

Similar Posts