The Handmaids Tale: Brief Summary
Margaret Atwood in her book, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ depicts some of the unrealistic things that had a chance to happen in Gilead, a futuristic republic. The republic is a repressively controlled state in which regulation is stringently followed. The future of the republic as in the book is taken over by the dictatorial Christians who are depicted to be very conservative. In Gilead, most of the women are said to be infertile due to the effect of the pesticides, chemical leakages fro weapons, and the nuclear wastes. The rest of the fertile women were confiscated and finally confined to be trained as handmaids. They were to offer services to the birth mothers who belonged to the upper class in Gilead. Gilead, a futuristic republic that witnessed a dictatorial regime perpetuated by the conservative Christians and characterized by discrimination and oppression in equal measure.
In chapter one the writer state the condition of the women in which they had to spend their nights in the school’s gymnasium. Here, the writer reports how they had the nostalgic experiences of how they use to have romance, they had the opportunity to reflect on the past and envisage about the future as they slept on the army cots. In the gymnasium were the guards; Aunt Sara and Elizabeth (Atwood 6). The role of the guards was to stop any communication or rising up of the women. The guards had with them guns while others had cattle prods. The women were confined and had to go out in the field twice a day, the field was fenced with barbed wire and heavily guarded by the Angels (male soldiers) who turned their backs to them to deliberately avoid seeing them(Atwood 8). In this sense, the women tried to attract the attention of the angels in order to seduce them but this never happened because they were not allowed to talk. In order to know their own names, they used their lip-reading.
In chapter two the narrator describes a house that is poorly furnished with only a flower picture and having nothing like a weapon. In this house is a woman called aunt Lydia who consoles that even the house mimics the army, she wanted to be alive (Atwood 13)
The hose is also described as having no children, aunt Lydia in this setting had the opportunity to meet Rita a cook and plan to have a lengthy discussion with her. In chapter three, the narrator makes the reflection of her own farm when passing the commander’s farm and how the wife spends most of the time knitting. She gets into the commander’s house through the back door and found the wife smoking even though it is illegal (Atwood 17). The two women are said not to have a rosy relationship.
In chapter four, the narrator leaves the house and meets Nick who probably is working for the commander and was washing the commander’s car. The two exchanged glances and suspiciously responded to one another (Atwood 24). The narrator meets another woman here called Ofglen with whom they leave together and meets a group of soldiers called Guardians of the Faith, it is said that they killed a woman last week and the narrator and her friend are reflecting on their status as handmaids (Atwood 29). One of the soldiers is said to be looking at the narrator and this is contradicting the regulations and the narrator swayed her hips as she leaves. This was ostensible to taunt the guards who had no option of satisfying their sexual urge.
In this chapter, the narrator is said to be in the city of Gilead, the city is reported to be quiet and there are no kids in the city contrary to the past when the narrator had a chance to talk to Luke about having a house in the city and raising children (Atwood 33). They pass a variety of women and reflect on how women use to be free but the norm has since changed and the women are heavily guarded and imprisoned. While in the town, they pass a store popularly known as Lilies, the store is conspicuously having no writings a sign that women are since considered not suppose to read. In the store, they met a pregnant handmaid who the narrator says attracted everybody’s attention, the said she was lucky but in danger, children have turned to be a very rare commodity in the city (Atwood 34)
Works Cited: Atwood, Margaret. The handmaid’s tale. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1986. Print.