Feminism Lost in Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale

1523 Words7 Pages
In Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale, the human spirit has evolved to such a point that it cannot be subdued by complacency. Atwood shows Gilead as an extremist state with strong religious connotations. We see the outcome of the reversal of women’s rights and a totalitarian government which is based on reproduction. Not only is the government oppressive, but we see the female roles support and enable the oppression of other female characters. “This is an open ended text,…conscious of the possibilities of deconstruction, reconstruction, and reinterpretation … Atwood engages in metafictional commentary …in her storytelling and by the time the reader arrives at the text, Atwood has already told and retold the story, questioned and hedged, changed the context, deconstructed and reconstructed the narrative.” (Univ of Toronto) “The history of women is the history of the worst form of tyranny the world has ever known; the tyranny of the weak over the strong. It is the only tyranny that lasts.” - Oscar Wilde The climate during the 1980’s was the suppression of women, The Handmaid’s Tale illustrated the political climate of the times. The book is based in part on the authors’ travels to socialist Soviet countries where people did not talk to anyone out of fear of retribution from the Soviet government. In 1980, the women’s movement was in its infancy and the Soviet Union was still deeply entrenched in the patriarchal tradition. Feminist Tatyana Mamonova, forced into exile by the Soviet government for her feminist activities, stated “communication among women is still very hard, very conspiratorial. We are taught in school that we are already emancipated, and so there isn’t really any sense of feminist consciousness…this ... ... middle of paper ... ...uarterly. Summer 2006. Vol. 75 Issue 3. p 857. Paul, Sarah. “Soviet Feminist Speaks on Rights Of Russian Women.” Cambridge: 1980. The Harvard Crimson. Web. www.thecrimson.com “Golden Glow of Reagan Legacy Lacks Luster for Feminists.” National Organization for Women. National NOW Times. Fall 2004. Web. www.now.org Pollock, Thomas. “The Feminist totalitarian State.” The Men’s Tribune. 1999. Web. www.menstribune.com Staels, Hilde. “Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale: Resistance Through Narrating”. English Studies 76.5 (1995): 455. Academic Search Complete. Stein, Karen. “Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale: Scheherazade in Dystopia”. University of Toronto Quarterly 61.2 (1991): 269. Academic Search Complete Zuhlsdorf, Fr. John. “University of St. Thomas requires freshmen to read Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.” Minneapolis: 2007. Web. www.wdtprs.com
Open Document