The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

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Nevertheless, however much his deeds may belie his words, Offred’s Commander is given some weighty arguments against love from the patriarchal point of view, and these should be considered alongside the stated views of matriarchy:

We’ve given them more than we’ve taken away, said the Commander. Think of the trouble they had before. Don’t you remember the singles bars, the indignity of high-school blind dates? The meat market. Don’t you remember the terrible gap between the ones who could get a man easily and the ones who couldn’t? Some of them were desperate, they starved themselves thin or pumped their breasts full of silicone, had their noses cut off. Think of the human misery. (34:205)

The Commander looked at me with his candid boy’s eyes. Oh yes, he said. I’ve read the magazines, that’s what they were pushing, wasn’t it? But look at the stats, my dear. Was it really worth it, falling in love? Arranged marriages have always worked out just as well, if not better. (34:206)

a thing in every society that has existed past or present, and therefore hardly something that can be discounted or suppressed with any likelihood of success. The whole novel teaches this essential truth. Love in The Handmaid’s Tale is important, not just – as in Nineteen Eighty-Four – as a tender element of human nature to be observed crushed under the jackboot of oppression, but as a powerful force that has the potential to eventually undermine and destroy what Gilead stands for. Offred is very different to Winston Smith in this respect: she represents not human weakness, but a tiny seed of destruction for the regime which oppresses her. Her own story, it is true, only brings down a single architect of this huge social experiment, but the reader knows from the ‘Historical Notes’ that purges and civil wars follow hard on the heels of the events of the novel, and – most importantly – that in a comparatively short period of time the whole regime will founder. Gilead is characterised in the Historical Notes as a ‘Late-Twentieth-Century’ monotheocracy (282), thereby indicating that the regime endures after the events of the novel for a maximum of fifteen years and probably for less than ten.

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the Unkindness of Ravens If you have found our critical notes helpful, why not try the first Tower Notes novel, a historical fantasy set in the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasions.

Available HERE where you can read the opening chapters.

The Unkindness of Ravens by Anthony Paul