Sunday, 14 June 2015

BOOK REVIEW : THE HANDMAID'S TALE by MARGARET ATWOOD



Imagine a world where women are  meant to perform only one job and that is to give birth.... She is considered worthwhile only till she is  fertile and able to produce babies!!!! She is to have no identity, no independence, no financial security, no choice!!!
No choice as to what she wears, what she eats, not even with whom she has a sexual relationship with!!!!
She is just a vessel for carrying babies!!!!
And the worst part....  Even after enduring all this, she has no right over her newborn child!!!
It is the male, the man who holds all the power and has the right to make or break your world as per his convenience!!!!
Horrific isn't it???
 Its like a walking talking nightmare for every woman.
 Margaret Atwood's novel "The Handmaid's Tale" portrays a terrifying but very real and possible dystopia.
At first, it's difficult to tell what exactly is going on in the handmaid's world, although her spare narration is filled with a deep sense of fear and danger. It's challenging but exciting to try to make sense of all the frightening details that she describes, and that's one of the things that made this such a compelling read for me.
Atwood had written this science fiction way back in 1986 but one can so clearly see parts of this fictional story coming true in our society today in 2015, just after some 30 odd year gap!!!!!!
Isn't blaming the rape victim, causing her to bear the burden of unwarranted shame and social stigma a very common and familiar occurrence in our society today??
Have we not witnessed the fate of women who are led to their untimely deaths by inhumane laws still unwilling to acknowledge the importance of the life of a mother over her yet unborn child?
Are there not materially prosperous nations governed by archaic laws wherein the women had to fight for their right to drive???
There are many who have hated this work of fiction and have ridiculed it calling it absurd, far fetched, full of feminist talk, extremist outlook, lacking in logic and very superficial!!!!
I am not about to start a dialogue here extolling the greatness of this story but one thing which I want to do write is that are not the women belonging to our modern civilization experiencing the same nightmare as Offred( the central character in this story). The shackles which bind us today are invisible as we are used to them since the dawn of time and are not able to differentiate between willful and conditioned submission!!!
Just like we humans are an imperfect blend of black and white, so is this story... Along with it being scary and depressing, it does have some uplifting moments.
For me, it was those scenes where Offred reflecting on some images from her past, mostly small little daily incidents of life ,thinks, "And we didn't even know we were happy then."
 Atwood does a marvelous job in highlighting the fragility and importance of our little moments of happiness which we usually forget or take them for granted!!!
The story has an open ending which leaves the readers to imagine the end based on their personal reaction to the story. As for me I am confused.. I am not sure whether it terrified me or was there a tiny yet hopeful story building up slowly but surely besides the terror giving my reasoning wings to imagine a HAPPY ENDING!!!!!