Essays on The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood Book Report/Review

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The paper "The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood" is a great example of a book review on literature. In her book A Handmaid’ s Tale, Margaret Atwood presents the fictional story of a woman trapped in a post-modern world of strict social structure. This society has been based upon a very religious ideology and patriarchal worldview. The main character is Offred, who has been assigned the social and vocational role of a Handmaid. This is a woman who, because of her background as a fertile woman (she had a daughter) previously married to a divorcee (making her marriage null and void in this society and herself a close-cousin to a prostitute because she had broken her original vows), has been reassigned in the new world order to provide an elite couple with a child.

Each month, when she’ s at the right point in her reproductive cycle, Offred must have uninvolved sex with her commander, while the commander’ s wife sits behind her and holds her hands. ‘ Uninvolved’ sex means there is no emotion or physical enjoyment permitted in the act. Offred has very little choice in the matter and is not permitted to speak with either the commander or his wife during the act.

She has not seen her daughter or her husband since her arrest trying to flee across the former Canadian/U. S. border and is forced to live in this stifling environment or risk being taken away by the Eyes. No one knows what happens when the Eyes take you away, but no one ever comes back and so it is assumed it is something terrible. As she narrates her story, in which women’ s rights have been completely removed, Offred illustrates the depth of the cruelty of such control in the way she takes pleasure in such simple things like butter, reading, and conversation that the Commander gives her access to in order to get her to break the rules with him, but when she is found out, she is whisked away by the Eye.

The last chapter tells about how the story is a voice recorder from an unidentified woman who escaped from Gilead, but no one knows what happened to her or even if she ever managed to get fully free.  

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