Handmaid’s Homework

The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel set in the near future. One purpose of a dystopian novel is to warn readers about a flaw in present society. After reading the first few pages of The Handmaid’s Tale, what flaw or problem do you think the Margaret Atwood is trying to warn us about?

Select an example from the novel and use it to predict what you think the author is trying to warn us about. What is the problem in the Gilead and how can it be connected to real problems that exist in our present society? In your answer, you must use a specific passage or quote from the novel.

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15 thoughts on “Handmaid’s Homework

  1. In the Handmaid,s Tale a flaw that Margaret Atwood’s trying to point out is how society is demanding religion to be brought back into everyday life. Especially in America where the book is set which the Handmaid refers to as the “former America” were things were like they are now in our times. When the “workers” or the woman who live in the houses like the Handmaids and the Marthas and when the greet each other its very appropriate with religion. The common greeting is “blessed be the fruit” with the response being “may the lord open”. This book is trying to warn us that if extreme religion was to be brought back to being the most important thing in life to everyone then women and men will be judged and put into a specific role in life whether its cooking or making babies for the Wives and Commanders.

  2. After reading the first few pages of The Handmaid’s Tale, what flaw or problem do you think that Margaret Atwood is trying to warn us about?

    In the first chapter Atwood indicates at a problem, a flaw that runs deep in human kind ‘that yearning, for something that was always about to happen…we yearned for the future. How did we learn it, that talent for insatiability?’

    She hints at our lack of satisfaction and lack of self control.

  3. The flaw in society is the Gilead is that heaps of women are becoming are becoming infertile, and only the ones who can have babies are being held in a prison type so they can’t get dirty and play with boys.

    the book is warning us to not to trust nuns.

  4. “We learned to whisper almost without sound. In the semi-darkness we could stretch out our arms, when the Aunts weren’t looking, and touch each other’s hands across space. We learned to lipread, our heads flat on the beds, turned sideways, watching each other’s mouths. In this way, we exchanged names, from bed to bed: Alma. Janine. Dolores. Moira. June.”

    Form this quote at the beginning of the novel we learn many things. the first bit we know that these people are mistreated and are unhappy. The writer give us a clue to what this novel is about when she says the names, that is that woman are poorly treated. from this we can guess that one of the themes is Pre-Gileadian society. So that woman are very low in society and a great change has happened. We can also guess that religion has a big part in this story to try and create a utopia. We can see this in our society when higher ups create rules to try making it perfect in their eyes…. mostly these people are males. ta daa!

  5. The flaw in present society seems to be how controlled we are by the government and how dependant we are. Although in the first few pages it is not clear as to what had happened, the character describes ‘what had once been the gymnasium’ as if things had changed rather quickly for the character to remember how things used to be, and then to describing her white (incredibly boring) room and thinking ‘does each of us have the same print, the same chair, the same white curtains, I wonder? Government issue?’ This flaw in society, of being controlled by the government was the downfall of that one society into another, where women are forced to survive in a religious, prison like society.
    A major problem with this, is that the dystopian future in The Handmaid’s Tale is not that far from reality. In our society we are already extremely dependant on our government (in major disasters such as the Australian fires, people did not flee their homes until it was too late, the government deciding not to evacuate them before the fires began, resulting in hundreds of deaths), and this dependence can possibly lead to the downfall of our society and lead to our own version of dystopia.

  6. We are being warned how flawed our society is, how dependent we are on authority figures, ie. the government and how our choices we make could have a negative effect on our near future.
    Yeah I don’t really get the book so far..

  7. To be honest I’m finding it very hard to get into The Handmaids Tale. I’m not a big reader but when I do read I like books that grab me early on. It blahs on about the room for too long. I want a story. I probably just need to be patient but its hard when I’ve got better things to do.

  8. Everything and everyone in the book is controlled by something. it is meant to be a good thing but it is very corrupt and unfair on people, especially women. The government has used the excuse of religion to gain control of the country and anything against “Christianity” is illegal. she is trying to warn us that if anything becomes too extreme, even a potentially good thing like religion, the world will not necessarily become a better place

  9. Select an example from the novel and use it to predict what you think the author is trying to warn us about.

    Margaret Atwood is warning the women of the world that if they don’t exercise the freedom which has been fought for for many years for their good, then it will be lost. This is connected to present society because she is warning the ‘anti-feminists’ -if you want to call it that- movement, where the women decide to become almost slaves to their husbands, to please them. She is telling them to respect and use their independence, and if they don’t then they will lose it all.

  10. In Margaret Atwoods novel the handmaids tale, we read about a dystopian future in which many women and men are infertile and the continuance of the human race is getting harder. We see how the country tries to remedy this with a very controlled, regulated society in which each person has their own roles. The warning in this novel is that of complacency “truly amazing, what people can get used to, as long as there are a few compensations.” This thought is by offred, remebering what her mother once said. In this novel Atwood is condemning the complacency of women and others in the control of their own life, in letting their lives be too much dictated by others, and not rebelling and using their own individual thought.

  11. The handmaids tale is a warning to us to protect our rights and freedoms. This is strongly illustrated to us in the character of Serena joy, who was and vocal advocate for the return of women to their traditional role and who ended up in the powerless role of a wife in Gileadean society. Serena Joy’s ideas were adopted to too great an extreme even for here, and her previous rights to vocalize her thoughts were lost

  12. I don’t really understand the book yet. But I think the ideas of dystopian novels are really interesting. Over past years, religious control has been pretty intense. In some parts of the world it is still this way, when religion controls your life so the idea in Handmaids Tail is not to far from some parts of society today.

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