Free Handmaid's Tale Essays: Life and Times of Margaret Atwood

Free Handmaid's Tale Essays: Life and Times of Margaret Atwood

Length: 1109 words (3.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓

The Life and Times of Margaret Atwood


Three Sources Cited     Atwood was born in Ottawa, Ontario, on November 18, 1939. She lived in a cabin in the Canadian wilderness for most of her childhood (her father was a forest entomologist), and that is where she gained her love for books and reading - probably from boredom. She also took up writing during this time, at the age of six (Margaret Atwood). Sshe came to want ot be a writer her senior year in high school when she says, "all of a sudden a big thumb came out of the sky and touched my head and a poem was formed." Who would have thought that the young girl who lived in the woods would grow to become a prominent female writer and poet? Atwood went on to attend Victoria College at the University of Toronto. She received a bachelor's degree there in 1961 and went on to receive her Master's from Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Mass. In addition, she attended Harvard University in 1962 - 63 and 1965 - 67 (Information Page). When she made the decision to be a writer she said she wanted to "lead a double life. (Margaret Atwood). This double life would include going "places I haven't been; to examine life on earth; to come to know people in ways, and at depths, that are otherwise impossible; to be give back something of what [I have] received," said Atwood (Margaret Atwood). She certainly achieved this goal of a double life. Atwood managed to live many places around the world in order to "examine life on earth." Here is a time line of the places she lived during certain years of her life.


1939 - 1945: Ottawa 1945: Sault Ste. Marie 1946 - 1961: Toronto 1961 - 1963: Boston 1963 - 1964: Toronto 1964 - 1965: Vancouver 1965 - 1967: Boston 1967 - 1968: Montreal 1968 - 1970: Edmonton 1970 - 1971: England (London), France, Italy 1971 - 1972: Toronto 1973 - 1980: Alliston, Ontario 1980 - 1983: Toronto 1983 - 1984: England, Germany 1985: Alabama 1986 - 1991: Toronto 1992: France 1992 - Present: Toronto


As is evident, she liked to move around a lot and to see different people and different things (Information Page).


     Although Atwood would have preferred to stay home and write all day she did have a number of jobs over the years.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Free Handmaid's Tale Essays: Life and Times of Margaret Atwood." 14 Aug 2018

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale Essay

- Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale Love of God replaces love of humanity in Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale. Offred’s recollections of her past life, especially of her husband, are ones filled with passion and happiness as she remembers his tenderness towards her. Much more emphasis is put on the physical human form in her memories; she often remembers lying with her husband while she wears little or no clothing. Appreciation of the human form is an essential component of loving humanity....   [tags: Margaret Atwood Handmaid Tale Essays]

Research Papers
1418 words (4.1 pages)

Society in The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood Essay

- “Atwood’s feminism is an integral part of her critical approach, just as her concept of criticism is inseparable from her creative work” Walter Pache (1). A dystopia is a fictional society, usually existing in a future time period, in which the condition of life is extremely difficult due to deprivation, oppression or terror. In most dystopian fiction, a corrupt government creates or sustains the poor quality of life, often conditioning the masses to believe the society is proper and just, even perfect....   [tags: Handmaid's Tale Margaret Atwood Essays]

Research Papers
2516 words (7.2 pages)

The United States as a Dystopian society in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale

- In the Days of Anarchy To live in a country such as the United States of America is considered a privilege. The liberties that American citizens are entitled to, as declared in the Constitution, makes the United States an attractive and envied democracy. It would be improbable to imagine these liberties being stripped from American society. However, Margaret Atwood depicts the United States as a dystopian society in her novel The Handmaid’s Tale. The first society is modern America, with its autonomy and liberal customs....   [tags: Margaret Atwood Handmaid's Tale]

Free Essays
1122 words (3.2 pages)

Essay about Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood

- The Handmaid's Tale The Handmaid's Tale is a gripping novel about one woman's struggle through a revolution of extremism. In this society of severe military rule, her position is one of slavery were she is used for breeding. She is under constant surveillance and any miscue she makes can result in death. We follow her along this path as she meets different characters, goes through daring situations, and reflects on her former life. The thing about the novel that is so striking is seeing all the human emotions and the characters adapt in the most inhumane of times....   [tags: Atwood Handmaid's Tale]

Free Essays
1156 words (3.3 pages)

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

- 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 to...   [tags: The Handmaid’s Tale Essays]

Research Papers
1523 words (4.4 pages)

The Handmaid's Tale Essay

- The Handmaid's Tale The Handmaids Tale, written by Margaret Attwood, goes on to explore the consequences that come to be from the reversal of womens rights in a society called Gilead. It is what one can consider a cautionary tale. In the new world of Gilead, a group of conservative religious extremists have taken power, and have turned the sexual revolution upside down. The society of Gilead is founded on what is to be considered a return to traditional values, gender roles and the subjugation of women by men, and the Bible is used as the guiding principle....   [tags: Margaret Atwood Handmaid's Tale Essays]

Research Papers
1987 words (5.7 pages)

The Handmaid's Tale as a Biblical Allusion Essay

- The Handmaid's Tale: A Biblical Allusion Imagine a country where choice is not a choice.  One is labeled by their age and economical status.  The deep red cloaks, the blue embroidered dresses, and the pinstriped attire are all uniforms to define a person's standing in society.  To be judged, not by beauty or personality or talents, but by the ability to procreate instead. To not believe in the Puritan religion is certain death.  To read or write is to die.  This definition is found to be true in the book, The Handmaid's Tale (1986) by Margaret Atwood....   [tags: Handmaid's Tale Essays]

Research Papers
1456 words (4.2 pages)

Portents of the Monotheocracy in The Handmaid's Tale Essay

- Portents of the Monotheocracy in The Handmaid's Tale        American society has had certain cultural and political forces which have proliferated over the past few decades-described as the return to traditional Christian values. Television commercials promoting family values followed by endorsements from specific denominations are on the rise. As the public has become more aware of a shift in the cultural and political climate through the mass media, Margaret Atwood, in writing The Handmaid's Tale, could have been similarly affected by this growing awareness of the public consciousness....   [tags: Handmaid's Tale Essays]

Research Papers
2420 words (6.9 pages)

Essay on The Importance of the Narrator of The Handmaid's Tale

- The Importance of the Narrator of The Handmaid's Tale The creation of Offred, the passive narrator of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, was intentional. The personality of the narrator in this novel is almost as important as the task bestowed upon her. Atwood chooses an average women, appreciative of past times, who lacks imagination and fervor, to contrast the typical feminist, represented in this novel by her mother and her best friend, Moira. Atwood is writing for a specific audience, though through careful examination, it can be determined that the intended audience is actually the mass population....   [tags: Handmaid's Tale Essays]

Research Papers
998 words (2.9 pages)

The Handmaid's Tale and Family Values Essay

- The Handmaid's Tale and Family Values In the olden days, religion and politics went hand in hand. The church either ran the land or had a strangle hold on the people. If the church thought there was one way to do something, one had to do as the church requested or suffer great penalty. To go against the church was to go against God, and that meant death. The king was supposed to be chosen by God to rule the people in the way he commanded. The king was the closest thing to God on earth....   [tags: Handmaid's Tale Essays]

Free Essays
1273 words (3.6 pages)

Related Searches

From 1964 - 1965 she lectured English at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. She then moved on to Montreal where she was an English instructor at Sir George Williams University. She taught at the University of Alberta in '69 and '70, and in '71 and '72 she was an assistant Professor of English at York University in Toronto. She went on to hold many important positions and head many important chairs at universities in Canada, the United States and in Australia (Information Page). While she was working she managed to come out with many novels, poetry books and even a few screenplays.


     In 1961 she came out with her first poetry book, Double Persephone (Unofficial Shrine). On the contrary, Atwood is most highly recognized for her novels - namely, The Edible Woman, Cat's Eye, The Robber Bride, and The Handmaid's Tale (Unofficial Shrine). The Edible Woman is a story about a woman named Marian McAlpin. She has just become engaged and now it seems that she can't eat, and, worse yet, she feels as if she is being eaten. The novel Cat's Eye surrounds the life of Elaine Risley - a journalist who has come back to the city of her childhood only to be haunted by images of the past. The Robber Bride is set in 1970s Canada, where three women and a femme fatale who has joined them in a story of sex and empowerment. Lastly, and most importantly in our case, is The Handmaid's Tale. It is the story of Offred, a handmaid to one of the "Commander's of the Faithful," who must bear her master's child because his wife is barren (Amazon).


     All of these novels, in some way or another, incorporate women and their battles for certain roles in society. Without even consulting Atwood on the matter, you can tell that she has an interest in writing about women and their different roles in society. Although these are her most widely recognized novels, Mrs. Atwood has written many books over the course of her career. Here is a list of the novels that she has published over the years (Information Page).


      · The Edible Woman; McClelland & Stewart, 1969;Andre Deutsch, 1969; Atlantic Little-Brown, 1970. · Surfacing; McClelland & Stewart, 1972; Andre Deutsch, 1973; Simon & Schuster, 1973. · Lady Oracle; McClelland & Stewart, Simon & Schuster, Deutsch, 1976. · Life Before Man; McClelland & Stewart, 1979; Simon & Schuster, Cape, 1980. · Bodily Harm; McClelland & Stewart, 1981; Simon & Schuster, Cape, 1981. · The Handmaid's Tale; McClelland & Stewart, Houghton Mifflin, 1985; Cape, 1985. · Cat's Eye; McClelland & Stewart, 1988; Doubleday, 1989. · The Robber Bride; McClelland & Stewart, 1993; Bloomsbury, 1993; Doubleday, 1993. · Alias Grace; McClelland & Stewart, 1996; Bloomsbury, 1996; Doubleday, 1996.


The Handmaid's Tale is based on the early Puritan society in America (which Atwood studied while attending Harvard). The Puritan's came to America in order to experience religious freedom, but what they eventually came to experience was a sort of theocracy. They didn't experience the freedom they came to America to find. Instead, most Puritans were oppressed by a few religious leaders. She has won many awards and honorary degrees for the books she has written. The list is a mile long so we can't really put them on paper. The most notables of these awards, however, are The President's Award and the Toronto Arts Award. The excellence in Margaret Atwood's writing is unmistakable. The question we kept asking though, was whether or not she is really a science-fiction writer or just a normal novelist. When asked is she considered the Handmid's Tale to be Science Fiction she replied that is is more speculative than sci-fi. "It is a twist of today's society," was her quote in the interview.Therefore, she really doesn't consider herself a science fiction writer. She would more likely call herself a poet or a novelist. Many people also refer to her as a social activist. Mrs. Atwood is referred to as this because she examines issues in society by altering them slightly in her works. In doing this, she informs us of what could happen to our society in hopes of saving us from repeating our mistakes.


Works Cited (The Margaret Atwood Information page) (The Unofficial Shrine to Margaret Atwood) (Margaret Atwood) (Amazon)

Return to