Our first meeting of the year saw us tackle the feminist tome, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.
Many describe this as science fiction, however the author prefers it to be referred to as speculative fiction.
The majority of our members did enjoy it, even though the subject matter was very much doom and gloom. But the tale of society gone backwards, gripped us from the start. However, one thing that was noted was the lack of storyline as we all felt that nothing much happened!
One of the main discussion points was, is this a moralistic or feminist novel? Certainly none of the themes that were highlighted in the novel were nothing new but putting them altogether was. Was it right that the woman were treated as child-bearing machines until they were disposed of once they reached a certain age and rendered useless? Or that women were in a dog eat dog society were they had no trust in one another?
The restrictions in roles and clothing were particularly claustrophobic and the fact the Handmaid’s were dressed in red denoting prostitution became clear in our discussions.
Had society really broken down or were these people just living in a bubble type existence was something that perplexed us. Certainly the fact that love and intimacy was stripped away and women were allocated strict roles in society, showed the repressive regime they had to live under.
The ending was something that intrigued us all. On one hand we liked that the story was pretty much wrapped up but then many of us wanted to learn what happened to Offred – one can only assume that she just disappeared and was never reunited with her family.