Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale -Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2011).pdf
The Handmaid’s Tale
AUTHOR: MARGARET ATWOOD
“The Handmaid’s Tale” was published in 1985 by Margaret Atwood. It is a dystopian novel and a work of speculative fiction. The story is set in an alternate time. The United States of America has fallen under a military dictatorship. The country is called the Republic of Gilead. The change begins with a staged terrorist attack that kills the President and Congress. Then the Constitution is set aside under the pretext of restoring order. The next order of business is to take away the all the rights of women. They are subjugated drastically. Women are forbidden to read, have money, and speak freely. The Christian religion in an Old Testament viewpoint is compulsory.
The story is narrated by a Handmaid. She is kept by the Commander and his wife to be a surrogate mother for the child they desire. But, soon the Commander orders his Handmaid to fulfill a role that would be deadly to her if caught. He gives her contraband products, takes her to a brothel, and allows her to read. His wife is so desperate for a child that she makes her have sex with the chauffeur, Nick. She and Nick become lovers, and he helps her escape.
The story cuts off abruptly and then moves to the epilogue. This is set in 2195 as Historical Notes. A professor is holding a seminar in an Arctic University. He is holding a discussion on a historical audio diary that was found in Bangor, Maine and transcribed into a manuscript.