Book Review: The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

handmaids_tale_coverThe world keeps changing. And it changed.

“Last week they shot a woman, right about here. She was a Martha. She was fumbling in her robe, for her pass, and they thought she was hunting for a bomb. They thought she was a man in disguise. There have been such incidents. Nothing safer than dead, said Rita, angrily.”

When belief was twisted into something that only fulfilled the physical need, there is a group of people that was labeled with the lost of self.

 “They can’t help it, she said, God made them that way but He did not make you that way. He made you different. It’s up to you to set the boundaries. Later you will be thanked.”

Holy, holy, the Ceremony stated.

            “ ‘And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband,’ says the commander.

Serena has begun to cry. I can hear her, behind my back. It isn’t the first time. She always does this, the night of the Ceremony. She’s trying not to make a noise. The smell of her crying spreads over us and we pretend to ignore it.”

Women who have the ability to reproduce—They are the handmaids.

“ ‘He asks, are you happy.’ Says the interpreter. I can imagine it, their curiosity: Are they happy? How can they be happy?

Ofglen says nothing. There is a silence. But sometimes it’s as dangerous not to speak. ‘Yes, we are very happy,’ I murmur.”

Under His Eye, this is how the world should be.

            “But whose fault was it? Aunt Helena says, holding up one plump finger.

Her fault, her fault, her fault, we chant in unison.

Who led them on? Aunt Helena beams, pleased with us.

She did. She did. She did.

Why did God allow such a terrible thing to happen?

Teach her a lesson. Teach her a lesson. Teach her a lesson.

Crybaby. Crybaby. Crybaby.

We meant it, which is the bad part.

I used to think well of myself. I didn’t then.

What did they do to her? We whispered, from bed to bed.

I don’t know.

Not knowing makes it worse.”

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a dystopian novel that shows the reader a world in the future that is constantly at war. Most of the women lose the ability to reproduce, therefore people capture women who can and send them to train and become handmaids. According to the Bible, the man, the woman, and the handmaid go through the Ceremony to make babies. The author illustrates a world of extreme religious and uncontrolled chemical pollution through the life of a handmaid, Offred.

I recommend this book for students of 8th grade and above, and I want to give this book an 8 out of 10. The main topic of this book is very special, and the language and word choice were used in a way that perfectly set up the mood. Don’t miss it if you are a dystopia fan like me!

-Wenqing Z., 11th grade

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