Well, this is going to be a first… as some of you know, I am back in school again after 15 years. Just so all of you know?? IT IS NOT LIKE RIDING A BIKE!! Ha ha!
Figuring things out after all this time has been quite the conundrum, and I’m having a very hard time settling back into the world of formal writing. I mean “keep emotions out of it??” ME?!?! Ugh. I get tired just thinking about it.
My first essay due is on “The Handmaid’s Tale” and since I have all of you wonderful people out there, and I’m sure many of you have read this book, you will all now be subjected to my inane and confused blather as I try to wrap my head around the MOST RIDICULOUSLY VAGUE BOOK I’VE EVER READ!!!
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…
Well, first things first… does anyone understand ANYTHING happening in this book? Is it just me who read the whole thing and thought…. BUT, WHAT IS ACTUALLY GOING ON??
I think my biggest issue is that in making this Gilean Society timeless and relatable, she made it so vague that I’m left with only questions and no answers. I completed the book without a sense of understanding about the society, or the world that it’s set in.
Who was this unknown army?
Why is this society living in this fashion, but the rest of the world seems to be continuing on fairly normally?
Where are “the colonies”, and where are these battles taking place? ….and why is this “nuclear fallout” that the unwomen have to clean up not effecting the rest of the world?
Why did any of this even start to begin with? Who made the decision? (I understand it was something to do with the birth rate of caucasian children…but, that still doesn’t really explain this societal setup..especially since they made it sound like it was implemented so quickly with no prior warning)
If this was all to help raise the birthrate of caucasian children… what happened to anyone who was NOT caucasion?
I will say that one thing I loved about the book is that Atwood has a wonderful way with words,
“A return to traditional values. Waste not want not. I am not being wasted. Why do I want?”
“Nothing takes place in the bed but sleep; or no sleep. I try not to think too much. Like other things now, thought must be rationed.”
“It isn’t running away they’re afraid of. We wouldn’t get far. It’s those other escapes, the ones you can open in yourself given a cutting edge.”
Through a few simple phrases she incites such desolation. You can immediately grasp the lack of the personal in this society. Thoughts and words are to be kept to oneself, and even then, are dangerous.
Though thoughts may be dangerous, Offred still holds out hope with small defiances against authority,
“I raise my head a little, to help him, and he sees my eyes and I see his, and he blushes…..a small defiance of rule, so small as to be undetectable, but such moments are the rewards I hold out for myself, like the candy I hoarded, as a child, at the back of a drawer. Such moments are possibilities, tiny peepholes.”
“My name isn’t Offred, I have another name, which nobody uses now bacuse it’s forbidden….I keep the knowledge of this name like something hidden, some treasure I’ll come back to dig up, one day.”
“As long as we do this, butter our shin to keep it soft, we can believe that we will some day get out, that we will be touched again, in love or desire.”
I also enjoyed… ok, maybe “enjoyed” shouldn’t be the word that I use when you see where I’m going with this… but, I thought it was more realistic that through the whole book Offred is pining for her child and her husband, but there is no happy ending for them. I love that her hopes basically go nowhere, because in a situation like this, and the war-like times, there were many people who had no idea where their family was and whether they were dead or alive.
If you’d like to pick up a copy of your own, for those of you who haven’t read it, get your copy HERE!
What are your thoughts on the society and setting of this book and how it reflects to our own?? Share your thoughts in the comments below!!
The Handmaid’s Tale is Best Served with an Aunt Jemima Cocktail
“Who else among the Son’s of Jacob Think-Tankers would have come up with the notion that the Aunts should take names derived from commercial products available to women in the immediate pre-Gilead period, and thus familiar and reassuring to them – the names of cosmetic lines, cake mixes, frozen desserts, and even medicinal remedies?”
So… you KNOW there had to be an Aunt Jemima out there!!
- 1/2oz Brandy
- 1/2oz White Creme de Cacao
- 1/2oz Benedictine
- Pour ingredients, in order they are listed, slowly over the rounded side of a spoon one by one to layer