The Handmaid's Tale
I thought that The Handmaid’s Tale was an incredible book.
I think that Atwood made many comparisons and analogies to actual events and occurrences in her book. One such comparison is to the Holocaust. The narrator (later renamed Offred) was somewhat oblivious to the changes going on in her world just before the Gileadean revolution took place– just like many people did not pay much attention to the things that were being done to non-Aryans just before the Concentration Camps, etc were constructed.
Another important analogy in The Handmaid’s Tale is obvious– Atwood has created Gilead to mirror Puritan society. There are many proofs of this comparison– the existence of a theocracy, the prevalence of public punishment ceremonies, the labeling of anyone who does not readily conform to the standard codes of behavior of the society.. the list goes on and on. Thirdly, Atwood creates an analogy between an overly-leftist society and a society which is severly dominated by the Religious Right. Atwood shows that these societies are both dangerous– the overly-leftist society led to the inception of Gilead, an oppressive, reactionary theocracy.
Aesthetically, I thought the book was amazing. I love the way in which Atwood uses minute details to convey a huge impact. And the book was creative temporally as well, effectively and effortlessly shifting between different times and places. I never had any problems following along with the story.
A few people have said that The Handmaid’s Tale moved slowly at first, and I disagree with that. From the first pages of the novel, I was sucked into Offred’s story and could hardly put the book down. The Handmaid’s Tale is truly an important novel for everyone to read– I think that Atwood wonderfully constructed a story that cautions us against assuming that history cannot repeat itself and I highly recommend this book.