April 17, 2017

Emma Watson picks 'The Handmaid's Tale' for Our Shared Shelf

"Dear Our Shared Shelf,

Our next book – Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale – is a gripping read, but it won’t make you feel comfortable. It is set in a dystopian future where a society (which was once clearly the USA) is ruled by a fundamentalist religion that controls women’s bodies. Because fertility rates are low, certain women – who have proved they are fertile – are given to the Commanders of the ‘Republic of Gilead’ as ‘handmaids’ in order to bear children for them when their wives cannot. The novel purports to be the first-person account of a handmaid, Ofred, who describes her life under this totalitarian regime. Flashbacks to her past, when she took it for completely for granted that she could be a working mother and have an equal relationship with her husband, show how easy it was for women’s rights to be revoked once a period of social chaos arose. As tension builds, the reader desperately hopes that the underground resistance will come to Ofred’s aid and rescue her.

Margaret Atwood wrote The Handmaid’s Tale over thirty years ago now, but it is a book that has never stopped fascinating readers because it articulates so vividly what it feels like for a woman to lose power over her own body. Like George Orwell's 1984 (a novel that Atwood was inspired by) its title alone summons up a whole set of ideas, even for those who haven't read it. As Atwood has said in an interview: 'It has become a sort of tag for those writing about shifts towards policies aimed at controlling women, and especially women's bodies and reproductive functions: "Like something out of The Handmaid's Tale".'

Well, here's our chance to read beyond the ‘tag’, and share our thoughts about how we think its dystopian vision relates to the world of 2017. Atwood has called it ‘speculative fiction’, but also says that all the practises described in the novel are ‘drawn from the historical record’ – i.e. are things that have actually taken place in the past. Could any of Atwood’s speculations take place again, or are some of them taking place already? Are the women in the book powerless in their oppression or could they be doing more to fight it? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

Emma x"

Now waiting for her selfie.


Anonymous said...

WOW The Handmaid's Tale written by Margareth Atwood is a great choice.This is a thought provoking book about how women's bodies are systematically used. The woman is not loved but she is sexed for a purpose. As Atwood once said, one does not dies from a lack of sex but one dies because one is not loved. (Not exact quote) Now this book and Frankl's Man Search for Meaning are great books to read to find purpose in life. Just an aside, Man's Search for Meaning, the Life of Viktor Frankl is being turned into a movie. I would love to see Emma play in this film, maybe play a young elizabeth lucas, who worked with Frankl later. She developed Logotherapy with Frankl. Now this would be role that also speaks to Emma's natural intelligence. I like it that she chooses roles that are intelligent. I hate films where the woman is just a dumb sex symbol.

Anonymous said...

LOL, Emma is so INSPIRING with her activism and her fans are s proud on her? They always judged Kristen Stewart fandom so harsh but fact, Stewart fans started KS-birthday project in 2013 and they donate every year money to honor Kristen's B-day. The last 5 years they donated over 80 000 $. What is Emma's birthday project? How honored her fans her B-Day?Or her fans are lazy hypocrites like her idol?

Anonymous said...

She has told fans in the past to donate to certain charities instead of sending her presents. Now the real steamer would be if Kristen Stewart and for that any celebrity who makes a couple of million per film to make a big donation out of their cash stash for the poor and those in need. If the poor fans do that is nice, but the true virtue would be if any of these people gave away a couple of million on their birthday: lets say homeless in their city, homeless women who do not have a job, abused children. I say begin at home.