Friday, October 14, 2011

Maybe we should re-read "The Handmaid's Tale"

When I read this article in the Huffington Post (House Republicans Attack Women's Health Again) on the recent House of Representatives passage of H.R. 358 restricting women's right to an abortion even to save her life, I immediately flashed back to Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale".  I recalled that it was about the subjugation of women by religious men and that at the time I read it I found it terrifying and totally believable.  I looked up its plot summary to refresh my memory and found this on Wikipedia:

The Handmaid's Tale is set in the near future in the Republic of Gilead, a country formed within the borders of what was formerly the United States of America. It was founded by a racist, male chauvinist, nativist, theocratic-organized military coup as an ideologically driven response to the pervasive ecological, physical and social degradation of the country.
Beginning with a staged terrorist attack (blamed on Islamic extremist terrorists) that kills the President and most of Congress, a movement calling itself the "Sons of Jacob" launched a revolution and suspended the United States Constitution under the pretext of restoring order.
Taking advantage of electronic banking, they were quickly able to freeze the assets of all women and other "undesirables" in the country, stripping them of their rights. The new theocratic military dictatorship, styled "The Republic of Gilead", moved quickly to consolidate its power and reorganize society along a new militarized, hierarchical, compulsorily Christian regime of Old Testament-inspired social and religious orthodoxy among its newly created social classes.
It appears that Ms Atwood may have been prescient.  We should all be terrified.


jaykaym said...

I just went to to see if I could get a copy of The Handmaid's Tale. Many people must have had the same thought I did because although this is an old book which usually has many copies available, there were none. Other Margaret Atwood books were readily available.

marianne said...

Oh my goodness. I hadn't read this book. I am going to copy this link to my facebook page if that is OK with you...xoxoxo

jaykaym said...

marianne - feel free to link to it. And you should be able to find a copy of the Handmaid's Tale at a used bookstore. There is also a movie version, which I have not seen, but I understand it wasn't very well done, leaving out a lot from the book, and didn't have the impact of the original book.

naomi dagen bloom said...

Many used copies for one dollar at

Tried more than once to read. Never could get past second chapter because it was so unsettling. Yes, many days it does feel as if we move closer to this all the time.