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The Handmaid's Tale (The Handmaid's Tale, #1)
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Margaret Atwood Collection > The Handmaid's Tale-Spoilers

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message 1: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bob | 4913 comments Mod
The Handmaid's Tale is our August 2014 New School read. Beware this thread will contain Spoilers.


message 2: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 03, 2014 05:02PM) (new)

Quotable:

“This isn't a story I'm telling.

It's also a story I'm telling, in my head, as I go along.

Tell, rather than write, because I have nothing to write with and writing is in any case forbidden. But if it's a story, even in my head, I must be telling it to someone. You don't tell a story only to yourself. There's always someone else.” (Offred 7.34-36)

As you read the novel, here are some questions to ponder:

What is your initial emotional reaction to this novel?

Why do you think women were forbidden from reading and writing in this society?

Do you think Atwood's vision of the future is realistic?

Who is your most and least favorite character(s) within the novel? Are there any characters that you identify with personally?


message 3: by Katy, New School Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Katy (kathy_h) | 9431 comments Mod
This book brings to mind several quotes by Frederick Douglass Frederick Douglass

"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe."

“I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing. It had given me a view of my wretched condition, without the remedy. It opened my eyes to the horrible pit, but to no ladder upon which to get out”

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

“Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.”


Greg | 73 comments Only a quarter way through but this is a re-read for me. Read it several years ago but my memory of the original read is a bit hazy.

The story is chilling! As with most dystopias, I find it hard to believe things could get this bad, though some terrible things have happened in history, e.g. Hitler's concentration camps and the Khmer Rouge.

In any case, I don't have trouble with "suspension of disbelief." I'm finding the story highly engaging, especially the bits of backstory that are gradually unfolding. And I certainly feel for the characters & the horrors they're going through!


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks for the relevant quotes Kathy!!

I did not have any trouble suspending my disbelief either Greg. There are elements of accurate predictions within past Sci-Fi novels, such as those by Ray Bradbury that have come true. I certainly hope The Handmaid's Tale is not predictive of the future. Frightening!!


message 6: by Katy, New School Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Katy (kathy_h) | 9431 comments Mod
Chilling is a great way to describe the read.


Greg | 73 comments I agree completely Matt


Pink | 6556 comments Read this yesterday and I loved it. I also agree with Matt about the plausibility of the book too, which I know has hampered other's enjoyment, but not me.

Least/most favourite characters? I actually thought they were all well constructed, I particularly liked Offred and the members of her household. I thought that Serena Joy as the wife was a great character.

I wasn't so keen on the 'historical notes' chapter at the end, which I felt was unnecessary.


message 9: by Mochaspresso (last edited Aug 15, 2014 09:36AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mochaspresso  | 1 comments Quotable:

"There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you being given freedom from. Don't underrate it." (9%, pg. 24, loc 330)



As you read the novel, here are some questions to ponder:

What is your initial emotional reaction to this novel?


I read this a long time ago for school and didn't truly remember it. Probably because I likely didn't truly read it closely at the time. (....the old read and skim just enough to form a thesis statement and write my paper and be done with it.) I re-read it on the heels of some of the more popular contemporary dystopian novels that are out like The Hunger Games and Divergent. My initial emotional reaction was anger at the complacency of Offred.
I had just finished reading two dystopian series where the female main character was actively involved in rebelling against their dystopia. Offred seemed so complacent in comparison.


Why do you think women were forbidden from reading and writing in this society?

If you want to oppress a people, suppress the written word. The written word is a very powerful motivator.

Do you think Atwood's vision of the future is realistic?

Not necessarily literally, but symbolically or metaphorically, yes.

Who is your most and least favorite character(s) within the novel? Are there any characters that you identify with personally?

I can't say that I liked any of the main characters. I sympathized a bit with Ofglen, though.


message 10: by Pink (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pink | 6556 comments Yeah the academics handling of it did make me smile, but I'd have been happy to finish the story without it. Really enjoyed it overall though, one of the best written things I've read for a while.


message 11: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Greg wrote: "Only a quarter way through but this is a re-read for me. Read it several years ago but my memory of the original read is a bit hazy.

The story is chilling! As with most dystopias, I find it hard t..."


The last few elections with the things you hear from the right wing makes The Handmaid's Tale more relevant and more frightening.


message 12: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Matt wrote: "I just finished and loved it. Whether the events the book describes are possible or plausible are very distinct questions. Possible? Of course. Plausible? ...eh. There was nothing I read that made ..."

It is VERY plausible. Of course, I'm a woman who pays attention to what politicians and government does that affects women.


message 13: by Nathan (last edited Aug 14, 2014 09:52PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nathan | 421 comments This was a reread for me. The last time I read it, Mike Huckabee was seeking the Republican nomination for president and talking about how he'd change the Constitution to match the Bible if he became president. As a gay man, I found it all pretty terrifying. The fact that Huckabee seemed like a genuinely nice guy with good intentions made it even worse.

Though the hot-button political issues have changed somewhat since then, The Handmaid's Tale didn't lose any of its punch in my reread.

I think the only aspect of The Handmaid's Tale that isn't playing out somewhere in the world right now is the dramatic rise in infertility. But given the high level of environmental contamination we have, such a problem seems totally plausible.

What made this novel so powerful was that Offred didn't see the changes coming. She's educated, clever, a good judge of character and she had friends warning her dangerous times were on the horizon, but she was still caught off guard when the hammer fell.

I think it's natural to cling to the idea that something like this couldn't happen here (not necessarily America, but wherever a person lives and feels safe). I watch the news and see horror after horror visited on vast numbers of innocent people all over the planet. It makes me sad. It makes me feel mostly powerless to help. But I still feel secure that the world outside my door will be the same peaceful place when I leave for work tomorrow.

With The Handmaid's Tale, I feel like Margaret Atwood has taken me by the shoulders, shaken me and screamed into my face, "Maybe you're not so effing safe after all!" It's good to have a wake-up call like that every once in a while.


message 14: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim (whatkimreads) This book scared the crap out of me, I am not kidding!

And just like Nathan said, the scariest thing was that it all happened just at once: bam, women can't work, bam, women can't own money.

Even just those two things alone and the fact that Offred instantly realised: I belong to Luke now, I am his property because he takes cares of me.
That just really freaky, right?

I mean this kind of stuff still happens in the world but right now I think it happens in countries where you are born as a girl and you know that this is how it will be. Like the aunts said in this story: it will be easier for them because that's all they'll know. But it's so much worse if you have lived all your life in freedom and the freedom to work and earn your own money and own things and now suddenly in 1 single day you can't do that anymore. And there is nothing you can do about it, there's no one you can call or write to help you.

It's a nightmare. And the thing is: this situation might not be plausible in our modern society right now, but we all know that we people are capable of creating a situation like this. It has happened before and it will probably happen again.

But beside the creepy stuff :D it was a great read. I knew it would be great, because I love Maragret Atwood's writing. Lots of emotion in the sometimes very personal parts, but also lots of emotion in the parts where Offred was describing things that happened. And I did like the very open ending. I like to believe there is a happy ending to this story, maybe there is this big secret organisation that helps as many people as it can and maybe Offred got lucky once in her life and was pulled out of that terrible system. And maybe she even saw her little girl again. I think it's important to know that no matter how bad things are around you, there will always be some good left in the world.


message 15: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 15, 2014 06:44PM) (new)

Thanks for all the great comments so far everyone!!

The premise of the novel totally frightened me too Kim and I did appreciate the ending being open to interpretation. Perhaps Offred did receive some help to escape...


message 16: by Petergiaquinta (last edited Aug 16, 2014 10:31AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Petergiaquinta | 55 comments Pink wrote: "I wasn't so keen on the 'historical notes' chapter at the end, which I felt was unnecessary. "

Some readers, I fear, may not even understand that the "Historical Notes" are as much a part of the novel as Offred's tale itself. But the Notes deserve careful rereading.

The first time I read the novel, I dismissed the Notes as an after-the-fact filling in of essential-information-for-dummies kind of thing. But after re-reading the novel and spending some serious time thinking about those Notes, I've decided I was the dummy the first time around, and those Notes are some of the most intriguing material in the novel.

Here's the future post-Gilead society (and the way Atwood presents her version of the far future in just a few pages of writing is pretty masterful in itself) taking a look at this artifact of the Handmaid's Tale from an "academic" perspective. But even though Gilead is long gone and this future society is seemingly free and equal, and academics of all people should be an open-minded group, there's still this dismissive attitude toward the accomplishments of women.

Not only are there the demeaning jokes, as Matt has pointed out, but Professor Pieixoto is far more interested in determining the historical identity of the "Fred" in the tale than he is of talking about the figure of Offred herself, whose experience and accomplishment in producing this "soi-disant manuscript," as he dismisses it, seem almost like an afterthought to the professor.

Humorous, yes, but there's something bleak and ironic about it all as well. Atwood seems to be saying that we (or is it just men in particular?) are hardwired to continue making these kinds of mistakes no matter how "enlightened" we become.

And so one of the most ironic/humorous moments of the Notes is there at the very end as the professor refers to the "clearer light of our own day" and concludes with the oblivious, "Are there any questions?"

Here's my review:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 17: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Nathan wrote: "This was a reread for me. The last time I read it, Mike Huckabee was seeking the Republican nomination for president and talking about how he'd change the Constitution to match the Bible if he beca..."

When I heard Akin say women had ways of preventing pregnancy if done by a 'legitimate' rape, I thought of Handmaid's Tale.

Margaret Atwood hates having her fiction called science fiction, she prefers the term speculative fiction. I can see these things happening more and more - whether Handmaid's Tale or Oryx and Crake.


Petergiaquinta | 55 comments Kirsten wrote: "When I heard Akin say women had ways of preventing pregnancy if done by a 'legitimate' rape, I thought of Handmaid's Tale. "

I talked about that very thing in my review. Right about the time I read the novel that whole "legitimate rape" nonsense was in the news. It was sickening to hear elected officials talk like that in public. Romney's wife had also recently made that ridiculous appeal to women trying to get them to come over to Commander Mitt's side. They declined.


message 19: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bob | 4913 comments Mod
Oh! My aching Aunt Sally Sue. I can’t remember the last time so much bigotry and prejudice was so tactlessly thrown about. The derogatory comments about conservatives, Republicans, and Christians Fundamentalist don’t do this group justice. The outrage generated by this book has revealed that liberal intolerance and preconceived ideas are just as ludicrous and dangerous as many on the far right. Margaret Atwood has given us a fictional future dystopian society where many women have lost their freedoms. Atwood’s cruelties toward women are a fiction. Her imagination pales in comparison to the real atrocities being committed against women in today’s world.


Glenna | 69 comments Bob wrote: "Oh! My aching Aunt Sally Sue. I can’t remember the last time so much bigotry and prejudice was so tactlessly thrown about. The derogatory comments about conservatives, Republicans, and Christians..."

Thank you Bob! I was beginning to think we were discussing politics and not a well written piece of FICTION.


message 21: by Pink (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pink | 6556 comments Petergiaquinta wrote: "Pink wrote: "I wasn't so keen on the 'historical notes' chapter at the end, which I felt was unnecessary. "

Some readers, I fear, may not even understand that the "Historical Notes" are as much a ..."


I thought the same when I first saw the notes, I thought they weren't part of the main story and agree some people might not read them at all. I think I was just so content with the ending before the notes and they were such a surprise discovery that I felt they were superfluous to the rest of the story though they certainly have their own merit. I suspect I'll appreciate them more with hindsight.

Bob, am I to assume you didn't much like this one? I'm unsure which derogatory comments you're referring to? All the comments above seem to mention specific concerns with past politics relevant to this book, rather than conservative/republican/christian fundamentalist bashing for the sake of it.

I quite liked how Atwood presented the atrocities against women in a more insidious and subtle way. I can also imagine how things like this are not quite as far away from western society as we'd like to believe. Recent implementation of cutting abortion clinics in Texas springs to mind as a creeping and slow movement forwards (backwards) in women's freedoms and rights.

Also, I have since started reading the bible (not for religious reasons), only Genesis so far, but I was unaware just how many terms and names were directly incorporated from this. Very clever.


Petergiaquinta | 55 comments Bob wrote: "Oh! My aching Aunt Sally Sue. I can’t remember the last time so much bigotry and prejudice was so tactlessly thrown about."

Fiction isn't written in a vacuum. As Atwood herself says, everything in the novel has already been practiced in the world or we are moving toward it. The serious discussion of the (mis)treatment of women in the world today (and significantly Atwood sets her novel in America, not in Iran or Afghanistan) as examined through the prism of Atwood's speculative fiction isn't something to be pooh-poohed.


message 23: by Greg (last edited Aug 18, 2014 01:39PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg | 73 comments Although I think Akin's legitimate rape comments (and more particularly the anti-scientific groundswell in some media at the political extremes that inspired those comments) have a high degree of correlation to Atwood's dystopia, I think America is vast distances away from those rogue ideas becoming mainstream. There are certainly some people out there with kooky ideas, but when they are too open with them, they are slapped down. Notice what happened to Akin. Support from the RNC was tepid at best after his remarks.

I am a bit of a lefty myself, but I think it's vital to be cautious and very clear headed in political criticism, not allowing oneself to be carried away into exaggerations. The problem is that the other "side" can do the same thing. Look at anything Glenn Beck is involved with (written, directed, etc) and the nutty histrionics just make the eyes roll. I wouldn't want to do the same thing - it's so easy a trap to fall into when one feels passionately - to take common fears, exaggerate them, repackage and expound upon them.

I don't think Atwood is doing this, but I do think it's an easy trap to fall into when discussing The Handmaid's Tale. It might be useful to remember that Atwood herself had a rocky relationship with feminism - this comes out in numerous interviews, and I think it can be glimpsed in some scenes of the novel, such as the riotous burning of pornographic magazines in the before times which could be said to fit well into the slogan "freedom from." All of this doesn't diminish the cautionary tale aspect of the book. It's just that literature by nature is the exact opposite of politics. Politics has to be dumbed down enough to fit into a commercial or sound byte. Literature by its very nature revels in complexity.

I personally don't see any path in either the near or medium term to this particular dystopian outcome occurring in America, but that doesn't diminish my appreciation for the novel. Regardless, there's still plenty of apt social commentary and characterizations as well as an engaging, chilling story.


Petergiaquinta | 55 comments Greg wrote: "Atwood herself had a rocky relationship with feminism - this comes out in numerous interviews, and I think it can be glimpsed in some scenes of the novel, such as the riotous burning of pornographic magazines in the before times which could be said to fit well into the slogan 'freedom from.'"

Right, and that's the beauty of a work of fiction crafted by a brilliant writer like Atwood as opposed to some political screed by an ideologue like Beck.

But a work of art or literature cannot be discussed in isolation from the real political ideas it raises and examines. To do that would be a denial of those very ideas Atwood explores in her novel.


message 25: by Greg (last edited Aug 18, 2014 04:53PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg | 73 comments I agree with you on that Petergiaquinta - it's impossible to discuss literature in a vaccum. There's lots of apt social commentary in the book - it just isn't as simple as: we are on the way to this dystopia in America, and 'X' political group is making it happen.

That being said, I have to admit that Akin's comments would have fit very comfortably into the thinking of Gilead. And I do find it highly disturbing that he recently doubled down on those comments, presumably because he actually believes them. It is pretty freaky that any political figure would be clueless enough to believe them. That has more to do with fringe media, I think, which thankfully are not embraced by the majority of either party.


message 26: by Petergiaquinta (last edited Aug 18, 2014 07:32PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Petergiaquinta | 55 comments But then again, the Sons of Jacob were a fringe group. The ayatollah was a fringe figure, as well. Things can happen, and suddenly the lunatic fringe comes to power. Is Akin going to become president? Probably not, but even in the U.S. in the 20th Century terrible things have happened. The KuKlux Klan became a powerful political force in Indiana, a northern state (!), in the 1920s. How does a so-called civilized, rational modern society descend into madness? A few things happen to tip the apple cart and suddenly the unimaginable becomes the routine.


message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

Matt wrote: "I'm not sure you can discuss a novel about political ideas without comparing those political ideas to life - whether contemporary or not."

Yes, I do believe you are correct Matt. I am fairly certain part of Atwood's intention was to get the reader to consider the events occuring within the novel in relation to the reader's current circumstances. The same would hold true for someone reading the novel well into the future.

No matter what our individual political beliefs are, I hope within the context of this discussion that we can all be in agreement on one thing. If Atwood's dystopian events ever became reality, that would be a disasterous beyond words.


message 28: by Greg (last edited Aug 18, 2014 07:31PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg | 73 comments With high levels of fear, terrible things can sometimes happen. My partner's parents were interned in a Japanese internment camp after all (and lost everything they owned despite having done nothing wrong) - this indeed occurred in the 20th century. I don't mean terrible things are impossible. I just mean the Republican party right now (though I disagree with them on many things) is nothing like Gilead. Akin does not represent them.

Also, for things to get that bad, it generally requires hysterical levels of fear and insecurity that I don't believe currently exist. Neither party is immune to hysteria, though they are generally hysterical about different things. I guess in Atwood's dystopia, the triggering element for widespread hysteria is a rapid decline in the birth rate.

Footnote: For those who don't know, Akin was a man running for elective office who said it was biologically impossible for a raped woman to get pregnant due to biological 'protective mechanisms' (basically that women could essentially shut down the baby making capabilities under extreme stress). He also said that women who claimed to get pregnant after being raped were most likely lying as a result. After the remarks, he was dropped by his party like a hot potato (for very good reasons). He subsequently lost the election. Apologists tried to say his remarks were misunderstood, but he recently reiterated his belief in the science of these 'protective mechanisms'; so it would be pretty hard to defend him now. All of these goofy ideas originally came from fringe publications apparently.


message 29: by Nicole (last edited Aug 19, 2014 11:38AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Nicole Miles (nicolemillo) My initial emotional reaction was "meh". Atwood's future isn't very realistic in my opinion. OR, like Matt suggested, possible but not altogether convincing.

My favourite character was the protagonist's friend, Moira. And my least favourite character was Offred.

Maybe I just don't 'get' it, but I'm not convinced. I appreciate it's socio-political message and relevance…but it just doesn't quite do it for me. It doesn't feel full enough or solid enough or something.

I always feel super harsh talking honestly about how I feel about this book because I know 99% of people love it so much and disagree with me and will probably just think I'm an idiot pleb… and I hope I'm not offending anyone by expressing my disappointment because I didn't actually dislike the book.. I thought it was okay. There are parts I enjoyed and I'm totally on board with the messages in seeks to convey. But purely as a literary work, it didn't do much for me.


message 30: by Greg (last edited Aug 19, 2014 12:19PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg | 73 comments Nothing wrong with talking honestly Nicole - I doubt you're only one who feels that way about the book. This group has more than a thousand members and only a relative few have spoken up.


Glenna | 69 comments I read this back in March and only gave it three stars. I also wasn't too impressed with the book overall, Nicole, considering all the rave reviews surrounding it. It was an interesting read which did have its dull moments. My first reaction was why are these women and men being pacifists to the situation surrounding them. I would like to think there are more of the silent majority that could have risen up against the government. Maybe if Atwood would have presented that in the novel I would have enjoyed it more.

This is my second Atwood read. I read Alias Grace a couple of years ago and enjoyed it much more than this read.


message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

Nicole and Glenna- It is perfectly fine to have varying opinions about The Handmaid's Tale or any other novel. If we all were in agreement about every book we read, that would certainly make for a dull discussion. (I just recently stopped reading a different novel about one quarter of the way through, even though it had a lot of four and five star ratings. Just could not get into the story and I did not care for the writing style.)


message 33: by Katy, New School Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Katy (kathy_h) | 9431 comments Mod
I think differing opinions actually make for a better discussion. Thanks for being brave Nicole.


Melanti | 2384 comments I re-read this last fall and liked it just as much as when I read it the first time.

We're a long way from Gilead at the moment, but I found the setup plausible. Probably not quite as plausible now as it would have been back in the 80s, but given the right extreme conditions it could still happen.

We (the US) can get truly stupid shortly after major disasters. Just look at how the US reacted after 9/11. Remove the existing power structure, add in a lot of religious fervor, and I could see a theocracy like this forming. I think it'd be relatively short lived and would probably be overthrown in a couple of decades - (as was the government in the book) - but I think for a short period of time it could exist.

And naysayers, feel free to say nay. If everyone agreed, this would be one dull group.


message 35: by Lesley (last edited Aug 19, 2014 10:22PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lesley | 46 comments I finished reading this today. I have enjoyed the discussion about the possibility of this occurring in the US. I'm not that familiar with US politics but the statement re. rape and pregnancy did make it into our news here in Australia. Every now and then a politician here comes out with a some wacky opinion, and they are shouted down swiftly. Most recently a new-to-the-job pollie has come out with a statement that Australia is at risk of imminent invasion from Chinese forces, and we must boost are defence forces, as China has a larger army (really?)!

Anyway, I read the situation in this book as being something similar to (though far more extreme) the current cults, where women are forced into polygamous marriage, are for reproductive purposes only, not working outside the home, wearing conservative clothing etc. I may have missed something, but I am wondering what happened to the majority of men?

Also wondering if anyone has seen the 1990 movie starring Natasha Richardson and Faye Dunaway?


message 36: by Greg (last edited Aug 19, 2014 10:32PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg | 73 comments Lesley, this is my guess based on the limited information in the text:

Men that wouldn't go along with the new order were probably executed (as the narrator sometimes thinks happened to her husband) or shuffled off to that "unwoman" prison camp the narrator says handmaids go to if they get sick or old.

Men who didn't resist probably ended up like the limo driver, policemen, or guards, who didn't rank highly enough in the new order to get a handmaid and had to live celibate.

The social structure appears highly hierarchical even among the men, and it was only the limited few like the commander that got most of the privileges.


Lesley | 46 comments Thanks Greg. I missed the bit about the 'unwoman' prison camp. I just remembered 'the Colonies' too, where the jobs involved cleaning up hazardous and polluted areas, though that might have been only woman.


message 38: by Greg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg | 73 comments Jamie, wow is that ever true - everything from the best to the worst. Absolutely crazy things happened in that brief time.


Melanti | 2384 comments Jamie wrote: "Hurricane Katrina caused some really outrageous behaviors too."
Well, I was thinking more of organized government level transgressions like the Patriot Act, the war in Iraq, and "Freedom Fries" that somehow got widespread approval from the populace and disagreeing got you labeled as unpatriotic.


Chaos and anarchy like after Katrina is certainly terrifying - humanity is capable of some truly awful (and wonderful) things at times. Just a couple of weeks ago I was talking to a guy who'd been in the Superdome and what little he was willing to talk about was horrible. I can't even imagine being there. But Atwood does mention a period of chaos and anarchy before Gilead was formed, doesn't she? I wonder how bad it was that people were willing to take Gilead as an improvement.


Petergiaquinta | 55 comments Fear, instability and a poor economy can turn us humans bad mighty quickly. Think about the people down on the border blockading the buses and screaming at the children who have shown up looking for safe haven. It doesn't matter what your politics are: mobs of folks carrying signs and screaming at terrified children never looks good on the news.


Nicole Miles (nicolemillo) It's very relieving to see that people here are welcoming of different opinions on the texts - that's what I'd hoped to get out of joining book clubs in the first place! :D

Glenna, I agree; that was something difficult to ignore for me as well. I've heard The Edible Woman is good so I was going to make that my second Atwood if I get around to it.. But only after reading Wide Sargasso Sea as I hear they're related...?


Nicole Miles (nicolemillo) Lesley, I haven't actually seen the film. Is it worth watching?


message 43: by Greg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg | 73 comments Nicole, I've read both The Edible Woman and Wide Sargasso Sea. I don’t recall any relation between them but I could be wrong. There is a strong relationship between Wide Sargasso Sea and Jane Eyre however. For my part, I enjoyed all three of those books. Wide Sargasso Sea was particularly wonderful.


Nicole Miles (nicolemillo) Sorry, my train of thought was totally doing a DUI in my brain or something. It's definitely Jane Eyre/Wide Sargasso Sea...I have no idea what joined them to Atwood in my head. hahah


message 45: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 24, 2014 08:32AM) (new)

Jamie Lynn wrote: "I read the synopsis of The Edible Woman. I keep running into the theme of sexism becoming overwhelming to women. The Yellow Wallpaper, The Edible Woman, and to a certain degree, The Bell Jar. All f..."

Well, I have a feeling that sexism (along with economic instability, poverty, etc) has existed to some degree throughout history, so the theme would be represented in books during different time periods as well. Perhaps what changed, was the prevalence of certain themes in novels during the past thirty years versus prior time periods. I believe it has become far more socially acceptable to write about certain subjects currently, however they have always been addressed within books of the past but to a lesser extent.

I have not read The Edible Woman or [book:Wide Sargasso Sea|481558, so I cannot make a comment on the themes of those books. However, I will rely on Greg's comments. Thanks!!


message 46: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Greg wrote: "Although I think Akin's legitimate rape comments (and more particularly the anti-scientific groundswell in some media at the political extremes that inspired those comments) have a high degree of c..."

Yes, we're far away NOW. But the society depicted in HT didn't happen overnight. We have to keep their feet to the fire. We're closer to HT than we were when the book first came out.


message 47: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Greg wrote: "Although I think Akin's legitimate rape comments (and more particularly the anti-scientific groundswell in some media at the political extremes that inspired those comments) have a high degree of c..."

Unfortunately, GB may make our eyes roll, but I have neighbors that agree with him.


message 48: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten  (kmcripn) I think we should not hold in our honesty. I used to go to a book club at the local B&N and was always a little discouraged at how my tastes always differed from the majority of the attendees. But I never apologized for it. Nor should any of you. I loved this book and I feel it is a cautionary tale. But I don't expect everyone or even the majority of people to agree with me.


message 49: by Greg (last edited Aug 26, 2014 09:37AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg | 73 comments Kirsten wrote: "Unfortunately GB may make our eyes roll, but I have neighbors that agree with him"

Kirsten, unfortunately I have relatives that worship GB. It is extremely taxing to hear them parrot him all the time, but they are not capable at the moment of discussing any political topic without flying off the handle. It appears to be temporary insanity. I do not exaggerate. The tin foil hats are coming soon. But I don’t judge them because when I was younger I went through my own temporary insanity in the opposite direction; so I have faith it will pass .. or at least lessen in intensity to the point that discussion is possible.


message 50: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Oh, I know you don't. I have a neighbor who I'm friendly with who's just insane politically.


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