The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – Dystopian Books Review

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January 19, 2020
The Handmaid's Tale

Review, Synopsis, and Summary of The Handmaid’s Tale

Margaret Atwood’s Novel the Handmaid’s Tale published in 1985 also aired as a television series titled with the same name reached popularity. The dystopian novel, although written by a Canadian writer, sets in future England.

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Author:  Margaret Atwood

Genre: Dystopia

Pages: 311

Goodreads rating:  4.09 of 5

My Rating: 8.2 of 10

Published: 1985

Publisher: McClelland and Stewart

Language: English

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Review and Summary of Dystopian Novel The Handmaid’s Tale

***Warning Spoilers Below This Point***

The novel starts with a staged attack in the United States of America and result in the killing of the President as well as the Congress. Sons of Jacob, which is a political group, originates and basis its philosophy on Christian ideology. As this group gains fame, the elections in the United States experience a delay, the constitution becomes suspended and the states fall under a military dictatorship which resembles theonomy.

The dictatorship continues in the country, and various changes become evident. Some of the biggest transformations involve limitations of the rights of people, mostly women restricted from reading, writing or to own any property. Women also cannot control their own reproductive functions.

Offred, our main lead, is a woman who narrates this story in the novel. Most of the women in this regime became infertile, but Offred is one of the few fertile individuals. Due to this reason, they force Offred to produce children for Commanders, who form part of the ruling class. They become known as Handmaids. The women of different classes follow strict dress codes. The wives of commanders dress in blue, the handmaids wear red with white veils, aunts who train handmaids may use brown, cooks and maids put on green, and econowives wear stripes.

Offred tells about her third assignment with a Commander, whose wife treats her really badly. There is a Ceremony in which handmaids and their Commanders perform obligatory sexual rituals, for conception in front of the wife of commander. However, to her surprise, the commander asks Offred to meet him out of the ceremony. There begins an illegal relationship between these two in which Offred may ask for favours from the Commander.

Later the Commander’s wife, believing that the Commander is infertile, set Offred up with a servant. Both of them start to love each other and Offred shares her dark secrets with him. They organise to escape and both Offred and the Servant work together to reach freedom, besides keeping all odds in mind.

Final Say on Dystopian Novel The Handmaid’s Tale

The story told by a lady Offred is that of Handmaid’s deprived of all of their rights and meant just to produce children for commanders. Margaret Atwood’s writing receives my rating of 8.2 out of 10 because of the excellent storyline and writing style it presents.

Would I re-read this novel? No. Am I glad I read it? Yes.

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Dystopian Books
Average rating:  
 2 reviews
by Lucy on Dystopian Books
one of the best

this is one of the best dystopian books I've read

by Brian on Dystopian Books
nice book!

i loved this book

Max Atlas
Max Atlas
I am Max Atlas; my only mission is to raise awareness of Dystopian fiction and share in a collective awakening. Together we will explore not only the best Dystopian Novels ever written but also new and upcoming Authors, giving future greats a platform to share their Dystopian Worlds.