Van has finished reading…The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

29 Nov

Margaret Atwood and opening chapters. With no awareness of what follows, this first chapter could almost be what a friend of mine refers to as pink herrings. There’s a sense of sisterhood about it, of all being in it together. Even their minders, Aunts, are differentiated from the Guards, and you’d be forgiven for thinking the Aunts are protecting, rather than…

  How it impacts then on the realisation, so it seems at first that we’re in a world of women, controlled by women. How tenuous are alliances and allegiances. It’s a measure of how we trust, how much we trust, how far we’re prepared to go. It’s a measure of the fine balance of power and how it changes our perception of those we think we know. And how interesting, as a man, to feel for Luke’s dilemma in that fulcrum moment: He must believe she knows he’ll not abandon her, and yet he must know she cannot but doubt his stance – not perhaps because he is suddenly aware of the power he holds, but that she is acutely aware of the power she has lost. The imbalance cannot be supported.

  The planning and execution of the coup are frighteningly believable, perhaps now even more so. Ultimately it’s the patriarchy and the corruption that instil that sense of the believable, the norm. To have simply subjugated all women would I think have resulted in ‘an interesting story’ rather than excellent, believable and psychologically terrifying tale it is.

Are there any questions?

  How chilling it is that we can look back from the safety of our modernity and raise a sardonic smile at the barbarism of the past. In a world where oppression and repression are perennial weeds it chimes like a bell in the conscience: at least it’s not happening to me. Is this how we learn history’s lessons, rather than learning from them?


One Response to “Van has finished reading…The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood”


  1. Van has finished reading… The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood | vanisreading - 11/04/2017

    […] what thorns! I guess when you’ve done Dystopia, and done it as well as Atwood, and as often, you really do need to up the game in some department. I could almost believe this is a game of Top […]

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