The Handmaid’s Tale

handmaids taleThis is the story of Offred, one of the unfortunate “Handmaids” under the new social order who have only one purpose: to breed. In Gilead, where women are prohibited from holding jobs, reading, and forming friendships, Offred’s persistent memories of life in the “time before” and her will to survive are acts of rebellion. Provocative, startling, prophetic, and with Margaret Atwood’s devastating irony, wit, and acute perceptive powers in full force, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once a mordant satire and a dire warning.

  • Do you think a society like Gilead could occur, and how easily could it occur?
  • Why do you think people went along with these extreme rules?
  • Are women, specifically the handmaids, truly considered important in this new society?
  • Is there any symbolism in handmaid’s wearing nun habits?
  • Why were Bibles locked up and kept away from the society?
  • Do you see any parallels between Gilead and our current day society?
  • What is your opinion of the Commander?
  • What is your opinion of Moira?  How did she affect Offred?
  • What is the purpose of The Wall and the Prayer Machine?
  • Gilead was set in New England.  Why did the author choose this location?  Would the book work if the society was set in another state/region?

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