The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After enjoying Oryx and Crake so much, I had high expectations of The Handmaid’s Tale. They were largely fulfilled. Margaret Atwood weaves a horrifying image of a society in which religious fundamentalism and fear of Caucasian infertility are taken to their furthest extremities. The rights of women are a particular area of focus. While reading this book, I began to think about the similarities between it and The Children of Men. Both deal with the concept of infertility and a totalitarian, terrorizing state. Additionally, both are written by women and were released within a small time span. Based on this, I am planning to write a piece comparing and contrasting the two books. Obviously, this is truly a thought-provoking work.
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The Children of Men is having a much deeper impact on me than I anticipated. It isn’t just an apocalyptic sci fi novel. It strikes deep to the root of what I feel is one of the most common and profound fears we have as people–extinction. And not just extinction by comet, asteroid, alien invaders or even disease. Extinction by the betrayal of our bodies. The inability to procreate, to pass along our genetic code. The barren woman has been pitied or looked upon as shameful from the earliest of our myths and religions. Fatherhood and motherhood have both been honored, albeit in different ways. People take so much pride in those little beings they “create.” The idea that it’s mostly outside of our control, let alone that it could someday become impossible is terrifying. Even as one who does not wish to have children I feel that chill.
Leave a comment | tags: apocalypse, books, dystopia, future, infant inconveniences, infertility | posted in Words