Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid's Tale

(3579 words)
  • Karen Macfarlane (Mount Saint Vincent University)

Margaret Atwood’s novels. It is set in the near future, after the United States has been taken over by a group of fundamentalist Christian extremists. The government has been replaced by a theocracy and renamed “The Republic of Gilead” after “the mountain where Jacob promised to his father-in-law Laban that he would protect his two daughters” (Atwood, “Writing Utopia” rpt. Moving Targets Anansi Press 2004, 110). Atwood’s Gilead is a complex amalgam and distortion of late-twentieth century culture: the “moral majority” movement of the 1980s, declining birth rates, surrogate motherhood and other forms of reproductive technology and control, increasingly virulent strains of viruses and bacteria, the move from a …

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Macfarlane, Karen. "The Handmaid's Tale". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 December 2006
[, accessed 28 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Speculative and Science Fiction
  2. Dystopian and Apocalyptic Fiction
  3. Gothic, Grotesque & Supernatural Fiction
  4. Metafictional Writing