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Two Words: Handmaid’s Tale

I have pondered this blog, wanting to choose my words carefully. In light of the Supreme Court's ruling of overturning Roe v Wade, I feel the necessity to talk about the fictional novel by Margaret Atwood. Published in 1985, it’s a powerful story of when women find themselves in a Christian fundamentalist totalitarian regime where, if fertile, are raped and foced to have a Commanders’s child. Those who are not fertile, are forced to work in the Colonies to face certain death. June, the protagonist, leads others in a rebellion to get their identities and rights back. Atwood based the book on 17th century Puritan culture, who, she says, are some of her ancestors. She even says that one of her ancestors was tried for witchcraft. Margaret Atwood is quoted as saying, “If you say ‘feminism’ means mean girls pushing boys off the roof, then, no, I’m not a feminist. But if you say ‘feminism’ means believeing women are human beings too, then yes, I’m a feminst.”


The overturn of Roe v Wade isn’t solely about abortion. It’s about women’s rights. I am pro-choice. I believe that an abortion is a private decision a woman makes when she feels she has no other option. It is not a decision that is made lightly. If women accept this decision, then what other rights will be silently taken away when we aren’t looking? There are a few quotes from the Handmaid’s Tale that I think are quite relevent:

  • "Better never means better for everyone. It always means worse for some."

  • “Now I’m awake to the world. I was asleep before. That’s how we let it happen. When they slaughtered Congress, we didn’t wake up. When they blamed terrorists and suspended the Constitution, we didn’t wake up then either. They said it would be temporary. Nothing changes instantaneously. In a gradually heating bathtub, you’d be boiled to death before you knew it.”



The Handmaid’s Tale was banned in 2020 for “sexual or health-related context” and “graphic depiction of sex”. I find it interesting that it did not mention rape.

If you have not read the book or seen the series (on Hulu), I highly recommend you check it out. It is an important piece of literature that depicts what life can be like when women’s rights are stripped away.


Until next time…


Works Cited

Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid's Tale. New York: Anchor Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, 1998. Print.


Banned Books in 2020-The Handmaid’s Tale, https://www.marshall.edu/library/bannedbooks/the-handmaids-tale/ August 12, 2020





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