Wednesday, September 30, 2009
All Signs Point to Handmaid's Tale
All signs were pointing toward this book being the next one I read.
1. This was a re-read for me and I had been thinking about the story, especially when the woman can no longer access her own money.
2. During our discussion of "1984" comparisons to "The Handmaid's Tale" were made.
3. When the person down the street threw out books in the alley this was one of the titles - along with some feminist textbooks.
4. In "Sacred" Angie is reading "The Handmaid's Tale".
This book does deserve the comparisons to "1984". To control a portion of the population speech is limited. Sex is also regulated and no longer for pleasure. The main character can remember the past but is losing her memories and realizing that the generations after her won't have any frame of reference and will think it's normal. Also, I started getting really worried that the person the main character befriends was going to turn her in because trust was quickly established.
One of the points of the story seemed to be that you need to be careful what you wish for because the result may not be exactly what you intended. For example, Serena Joy was a strong voice for the family and home and was a public speaker who was famous. When what she campaigned for came to pass her own freedoms were limited and she was trapped. While woman no longer have to worry about being assaulted they also can no longer speak or work or be independent. The most independent person, Moira, is a prostitute so isn't that moving backwards?
Even the end is similar to "1984" with the scholarly presentation similar to the description of Newspeak. If you have not read this one, or have not read it in a while, it's a good book and a quick read.
The book I'm reading now "Downtown Owl" mentions "1984"! Just can't get away from certain books this year.