What is the summary of the book The Handmaid’s Tale written by Margaret Atwood? Information about the summary, characters and analysis of The Handmaid’s Tale.
The Handmaid’s Tale
“The Handmaid’s Tale” is a dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood, published in 1985. The story is set in the near future in the Republic of Gilead, a theocratic, totalitarian regime that has replaced the United States. The story follows the life of a woman known as Offred, who is a “handmaid” in the household of a high-ranking official.
The novel explores themes of subjugation, oppression, and resistance in a society where women are stripped of their rights and forced into a rigid social hierarchy. Offred’s story is a powerful and chilling portrayal of a society in which women have been stripped of their rights, and their bodies are used solely for reproduction.
The novel is considered a classic of feminist literature, and it has been adapted into a television series, a film, and a stage play. It has been widely acclaimed for its exploration of themes such as power, control, and the role of women in society.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” is set in the Republic of Gilead, a theocratic totalitarian regime that has replaced the United States. The novel is told from the perspective of Offred, a handmaid in the household of a high-ranking official known as the Commander.
Offred, along with other handmaids, are forced to bear children for the upper class, who are unable to have children of their own due to environmental pollution and other factors. Handmaids are selected based on their fertility and are stripped of their identities, names, and rights. They are only referred to by the names of the men they serve and are treated as property rather than human beings.
Offred’s life is controlled by the regime, from her clothing and movements to her interactions with others. She is not allowed to read, write or have access to any forms of entertainment. The only purpose of her existence is to bear a child for the Commander and his wife. The only way for her to survive is to try to play by the rules, but she also struggles with feelings of rebellion and longing for her past life.
Offred’s story is interspersed with flashbacks of her life before the regime took power. She was a wife and a mother, with a career and a loving relationship. She also remembers the rise of the regime and how quickly it happened, how the government was overthrown and how the new regime used religion to justify its oppressive policies.
As she goes through her daily routine, Offred starts to develop a relationship with the Commander, who is also struggling with the oppressive system. She starts to question the regime and starts to remember the past, and starts to make small acts of rebellion, like reading, and starts to hope for a way to escape.
The novel ends with Offred being taken away by the secret police, it is not clear if she was captured or rescued and her fate is left unknown. The novel leaves the reader with a sense of hopelessness, but also with the idea that resistance and rebellion can take many forms.
The novel is a powerful and thought-provoking exploration of themes such as power, control, and the role of women in society. It is widely considered a classic of feminist literature and it has been adapted into a television series, a film, and a stage play.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” features several key characters:
- Offred: The novel’s protagonist and narrator, she is a handmaid in the household of the Commander. She is forced to bear children for the upper class and is stripped of her rights and identity.
- The Commander: The high-ranking official who is Offred’s assigned “owner.” He is also known as Fred and is married to Serena Joy. He is a complex character, and Offred develops a relationship with him, which makes her question the regime.
- Serena Joy: The Commander’ wife, she is a former televangelist who helped create the regime. She is jealous of Offred’s relationship with her husband and is a symbol of the oppressive nature of the regime.
- Moira: Offred’s best friend from before the regime. She is also a handmaid, but escapes to Canada.
- Luke: Offred’s husband from before the regime. He is believed to be dead, but Offred never stops thinking about him.
- Nick: The Commander’ driver and Offred’s lover. He is a mysterious character and it is not clear if he is a member of the resistance.
- Aunt Lydia: A powerful and terrifying figure in the regime, she is in charge of training the handmaids and enforcing the regime’s laws.
- Janine: A handmaid in the household of the commanders, she is a close friend of Offred, and she is also known as Ofwarren.
These characters play important roles in the novel and help to explore the themes of power, oppression, and resistance in a society where women are stripped of their rights and forced into a rigid social hierarchy.