Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood



This book is about a male dominated society in which women are only valued if they are fertile or if they have had the good fortune to marry into a family of higher political standing. The women of lower class that are deemed fertile are made to wear only red, kept 'safe' by not allowing them too much physical exertion and not allowing them to leave their room except to go to the market once a day. They are not supposed to talk to other 'handmaids' as they are called, because they allow them to band together and defy the men in charge. The only job these women have is to have children for the upper class and higher ranking men and their wives. After bearing and giving birth to these children, the baby is taken away to be raised by the handmaid's host family and the handmaid is moved to another family, never to see her child again. Offred, handmaid to the "Commander", has a strange relationship with him, as he allows her to read in his office, something handmaids are forbidden to do. He takes her to a place where prostitutes live, a secret place run by the male dominated government. The Commander's wife sees this unwanted relationship and offers Offred a deal to have sex with her driver to become pregnant so that Offred can be removed from her household and the wife can have a baby to raise. Offred begins to develop a relationship with nick, the driver, another thing that is expressly forbidden.

1) What would you do if you were chosen to receive a 'handmaid' into your marriage or chosen to become a handmaid yourself?


2) How would you feel if you knew that you had children out in the world being raised by other families or that the child you are raising is not yours and you are raising it as though it were?

9 comments:

Hayley D 11/12 said...

1. If I were chosen to be a handmaid I would be really upset, that would be a horrible life. I'm not sure how that whole situation works, but if I had the opportunity, I would attempt run away and start a better life.
2. I would be devastated if a child was taken from me and raised by another family. I also think that it would be hard to raise a child like it was your own, even though it wasn't. I feel like that situation is similar to adopting a child , but in this case, the child isn't the one whose benefitting it's the selfish family.

Allie H 11-12 said...

Answering question number 1, if I knew that I had children out in the world being raised by another family, I would feel inadequate. I would feel like I wasn't good enough to raise my child and I would feel lost. I would feel lost because I would want my child to grow up learning the morals and values that I live by. I would want my children being raised by me knowing that they will grow up the way I want them to. If they are in the hands of strangers I do not know, who knows what kind of people they will turn into.

Laura B. 13-14 said...

1) To be honest, I do not know how I would react to that situation. In today's society, I believe that women often take for granted of the rights we have fought so hard to attain in this country. It is now acceptable for a woman to be more intelligent than the man she chooses to be with or for a woman to chose to not to have children. It is these small victories that we view as normal that other women have fought so hard to achieve.

Hannah L 13-14 said...

To answer your second question, I would feel very badly about myself if I were raising a child as though it were mine, unless, like in the case of adoption, the mother was unable to or chose not to care for the baby. Knowing that I had children being raised by other people would probably break my heart. I would be very upset because I would miss all of the important things in my child's life and I would hate to not be able to see my own flesh and blood grow up.

SeanK56 said...

I would be kind of sad that the child was not actually mine, but I would still treat it as though it was and make sure it had a normal life.

Liz S.11-12 said...

1. I'd be embarrassed because that would mean telling the whole world i was infertile, which isn't something someone in that time period would be happy and open about
2.I would never let them go. If i was forced to let them go i would do everything i could to find them.

Amanda Z. 11-12 said...

2. First of all, i'd be horrified and devestated that my child was taken away from me to be raised by a stranger. Secondly, i'd make sure i did a kick tush job raising that kid because thats what i would want someone else to do with mine.

Dana D 11-12 said...

2. I think that I could easily accept the idea of raising someone elses child and loving them as my own. People adopt kids all the time and it works out wonderfully. I think it would be much harder though to know your children were being raised by someone else. That is a life that you have created and you want only the best for them. I would worry that they weren't being taken care of as well as if they were still with me.

Kristen T. 11-12 said...

2. This would be difficult to deal with, as a mother who carries a child for nine months obviously becomes attached to it, even though it is inside of her. This is similar to the situation of adoption, in which it seems that the mother is usually so emotionally attached that it is difficult to give up the baby. I would be heartbroken if I were put into this situation, however, I would still hope for the best for the child.