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Old 1st Jul 2008, 4:44   #7
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Join Date: 22 Sep 2006
Location: Illinois
Posts: 2,854
Default Re: Book 54: THE HANDMAID'S TALE by Margaret Atwood

And she's an amazing satirist. Handmaid's Tale is chock full, from the play on words of the title to almost every last page. It's almost too full of themes to pull from the toy box and play with. I read it for the first time in 2005 but enjoyed it more this time. Kirsty, I agree that the novel is about a woman making a life on her own terms, but not in an external way or a modern manner, more a solitary sojourn.

I was also surprised at my mixed reaction to the Handmaid this time. I initially saw her as loving and representing some of the best qualities in people. But this time I also saw her passivity and, ultimately, her dependence upon someone else to get her out of her spot. Whereas three years ago I was simply relieved to think she might have outlasted the regime, now I wonder a bit at her means of doing so. Did she use her sex to manipulate Nick? Is Atwood saying that in some respects survival (ie being chosen to live and thus continue a pregnancy - I think the Handmaid was pregnant -) happens when a big strong, ooh er! car waxin' hand intervenes? And that the logical candidate for continuity here is a woman of childbearing age? What about Cora, the cook? If so, that's almost too brutal to take, much worse than Salvaging or the Colonies. Maybe this is the point, that declining birthrate and the insanity of fundamentalism places a premium on some lives at the expense of others. The very last section could also be read as a tribute to faith in men, something a real feminist holds. I'm proud that the Handmaid trusts Nick; I'm a bit confused that there is no other avenue. Bleaker and bleaker the more I think onit.
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