Eugenia (Genie In A Book) asked Margaret Atwood:
I found "The Handmaid's Tale" to be such a poignant and perceptive novel which I loved! Are there any particular events or other contextual elements from the period of time which you wrote it in, which drove you to write the book? Even though it is largely classified as a dystopian novel, do you personally see any possible utopian features within it?
Margaret Atwood Thank you! The elements came from several sources: 1) History: I put nothing in that we have not already done, sometime, some place. 2) The study of 17th C Puritan Theocracy in New England. 3) The fact that I was born just as the Second World War began. I have always been interested in dictatorships and totalitarianisms, whether of right or left. If there was going to be one in the USA, what form might it take? 4) All totalitarianisms try to control (among other things) women's bodies. They control men too of course, but in different ways. 5) My interest in SciFi/SpecFic of the early 20th C: the form itself. How to do it? And finally, 6): The statements being made by the fundamentalists of the early 1980s. I tend to believe people will do what they say they want to do, if they acquire the power to do those things. So, if you want women back in the home, how do you make them go back? Control their access to money. We now have near-perfect tools for doing that. They are called the credit card and the internet.
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Penny asked Margaret Atwood: