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Banned Book Review: The Handmaid’s Tale

December 8, 2005

37. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Reason:  it contains profanity and sex

There’s a certain sort of irony in banning a book about women who aren’t allowed to read books.  The Handmaid’s Tale centers around Offred, a woman living as a walking talking womb in the nation of Giliad, in what was once a slice of the United States.  This post-apolyptic tale of religious rule gone horribly wrong describes life as it would be under the rule of those who would take the Bible literally.  Women have no rights, other than those given to them at the whim of their Commander.  And a woman’s status is almost entirely dictated by her ability to give birth to a child.  The book has a frightening amount of relevance in today’s political climate, though it would be a mistake to call claim that this book solely political in nature.  A highly recommended read.

And for the curious:  The biblical passages which the concept of the “handmaiden” are based.  Genesis 30:1-24

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