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Tristram Kenton Some books haunt the reader. Others haunt the writer. It has sold millions of copies worldwide and has appeared in a bewildering number of translations and editions.
It has been expelled from high schools, and has inspired odd website blogs discussing its descriptions of the repression of women as if they were recipes.
Is it entertainment or dire political prophecy? Can it be both? I did not anticipate any of this when I was writing the book.
I began this book almost 30 years ago, in the spring ofwhile living in West Berlin — still encircled, at that time, by the Berlin Wall. In my journal there are the usual writerly whines, such as: I chronicle the finding of puffballs, always a source of glee; dinner parties, with lists of those who attended and what was cooked; illnesses, my own and those of others; and the deaths of friends.
There are books read, speeches given, trips made. There are page counts; I had a habit of writing down the pages completed as a way of urging myself on. But there are no reflections at all about the actual composition or subject matter of the book itself.
Perhaps that was because I thought I knew where it was going, and felt no need to interrogate myself.
I recall that I was writing by hand, then transcribing with the aid of a typewriter, then scribbling on the typed pages, then giving these to a professional typist: I finished the book there; the first person to read it was a fellow writer, Valerie Martin, who was also there at that time.
I recall her saying: From 12 September to June all is blank in my journal — there is nothing at all set down, not even a puffball — though by my page-count entries it seems I was writing at white-hot speed.
On 10 June there is a cryptic entry: The book appeared in Canada in the fall of to baffled and sometimes anxious reviews — could it happen here?
On 16 November I find another writerly whine: In the UK, which had had its Oliver Cromwell moment some centuries ago and was in no mood to repeat it, the reaction was along the lines of, "Jolly good yarn". What would be your cover story?
It would not resemble any form of communism or socialism: It might use the name of democracy as an excuse for abolishing liberal democracy: Thus China replaced a state bureaucracy with a similar state bureaucracy under a different name, the USSR replaced the dreaded imperial secret police with an even more dreaded secret police, and so forth.
The deep foundation of the US — so went my thinking — was not the comparatively recent 18th-century Enlightenment structures of the republic, with their talk of equality and their separation of church and state, but the heavy-handed theocracy of 17th-century Puritan New England, with its marked bias against women, which would need only the opportunity of a period of social chaos to reassert itself.
Like any theocracy, this one would select a few passages from the Bible to justify its actions, and it would lean heavily towards the Old Testament, not towards the New. Since ruling classes always make sure they get the best and rarest of desirable goods and services, and as it is one of the axioms of the novel that fertility in the industrialised west has come under threat, the rare and desirable would include fertile women — always on the human wish list, one way or another — and reproductive control.
Who shall have babies, who shall claim and raise those babies, who shall be blamed if anything goes wrong with those babies? These are questions with which human beings have busied themselves for a long time. There would be resistance to such a regime, and an underground, and even an underground railroad.
In retrospect, and in view of 21st-century technologies available for spywork and social control, these seem a little too easy. Surely the Gilead command would have moved to eliminate the Quakers, as their 17th-century Puritan forebears had done.
I made a rule for myself: I would not include anything that human beings had not already done in some other place or time, or for which the technology did not already exist. I did not wish to be accused of dark, twisted inventions, or of misrepresenting the human potential for deplorable behaviour.This dystopian novel was written by Canadian author Margaret Atwood in yet the feelings of the novel feel prevalent more today than ever.
Our story follows Offred, a . A Complete Summary of The Handmaid’s Tale The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel written by Margaret Atwood. The story of the novel is set at the end of the 20th century, sometime after /5(3).
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a brilliant, endearing, scary as hell book. Told with simplistic prose and stark attention to detail, Atwood describes life in the not too distant future where the United States has been transformed through military coup into a totalitarian theocracy/5.
By Margaret Atwood. The book was not called The Handmaid's Tale at first been of interest to me came together during the writing of the book. The first was my interest in dystopian.
The Handmaid’s Tale by: Margaret Atwood The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel by Margaret Atwood that was first published in Summary. Plot Overview; Summary & Analysis; Here's where you'll find analysis about the book as a whole, from the major themes and ideas to analysis of style, tone, point of view, and more.
This year sees the 25th anniversary of the publication of Margaret Atwood's dystopian classic, and to honour the occasion, the book has been reissued by Vintage.
The Handmaid's Tale tells the.