Friday, 6 February 2015

The Handmaid's Tale

Hello everyone, today I'm back with another post about the book that I'm currently reading, which is The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood! 
This book is one of my three coursework texts for my English A Level (I'm doing the AQA English Literature A Love Through The Ages course - is anyone else doing that? Let me know, it would be so cool to find someone else!) and the other two are Romeo and Juliet and On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan, both of which we studied in class. This text has been an independent study so I've had to devote a lot of time to it, hence why there weren't many #CurrentlyReadings in January - I think I only managed to read two books in the whole month because of this!

Shown in the picture here is the York Notes guide to the book as well, which of course has been a huge help along the way! I love the fact that it analyses each section individually and then approaches the novel as a whole from certain perspectives. I usually end up buying York Notes' for most of the novels that we study, because I find them to be so helpful!
But anyway, back to the book...

The Handmaid's Tale is somewhere in the fine line between more 'classic' fiction in that it was published 30 years ago and that it is highly regarded, but it also features a dystopian world which could quite happily sit amongst the likes of The Hunger Games or The Chemical Garden Series (which if you haven't read, I would definitely recommend!) As a young adult reader, I'm sure there are many elements of the novel that I will appreciate a lot more than an older reader may do, but there will be other features that are more suitable vice versa!

It follows Offred, a handmaid, who lives with a wealthy family and who's main role within society is to produce a child for them, only to be moved on to a new family until she is no longer able to reproduce. This has happened as a result of too much pollution leading to declining fertility rates - a perfectly possible future for us all - meaning that only a select few women are able to have children, so they are auctioned off to rich families and treated like machines, used for their birthing abilities.
From a plot perspective this is a really interesting idea and was the main reason why I decided to use it as a coursework text, but also if you were to consider it as a piece of feminist literature then it becomes even more interesting to consider what Atwood was trying to say. Anyway I'll try not to turn this into too much of an essay...

In general, I've been a lot more impressed with this book than I thought I would be! If you're a slightly older fan of the hit dystopian novels of the moment, this would be the perfect book for you. I'll admit that I tried reading it twice last year and gave up a few chapters in - it's quite hard to get into but once you do, it's definitely worth it!

What have you been reading lately? Would you be interested in reading a post all about my favourite Dystopian books? Let me know!


  1. Ooh how are you finding English Lit A Level? I was contemplating it but chose English Language instead! Still love literature though, would love to read this!

    Jade x ♡

    1. The course we're doing is hugely dependent on independent wider reading which is a bit of a pain but I'm enjoying it aside from the sheer quantity of quotes there are to memories aha! x

  2. I did English Lit A level and am currently studying it at uni! Had to read this for my first year, I love dystopian fiction! Would definitely be really interested in seeing which books you'd recommend :) Beth xxx

    1. I'll consider doing a post on my favourites in the future then! Gives me an excuse to read some more ;) x


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