The Handmaid's Tale

A dystopian novel in the vein of 1984 and Brave New World, both big books during Margaret Atwood's adolescence. Here we have deadening domestic boredom punctuated by flashes of brilliant insight. A pretty good sense of life in a twenty-first century religious fundamentalist state is evoked. But for some reason, the book did not shock and scare me in the way 1984 did. I think this is because I got a lot of insight into the lives of the oppressed, but very little into the lives of the oppressor. The Commander is seen only through Offred's eyes, and all her conclusions about his personality and motivations are tentative, uncertain, subjective. Atwood leaves the reader to draw their own explanation for why this extraordinary society has come about. For me this wasn't enough. I wanted HER explanation. I wanted to be confronted with the monster direct, to understand him intimately. Basically, I wanted O'Brien's brutally candid lectures in 1984.

For the effects of evil are not as fascinating as its source.

No comments:

Post a Comment