The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is this week’s Banned Book

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale is a powerful novel set in a dystopian future where women’s rights are severely restricted. Atwood’s chilling portrayal of a society governed by strict patriarchal rule has captivated readers worldwide. However, its dark themes and depiction of sexuality and violence have led to its banning in various educational institutions and even entire countries.

This week’s item in the Banned Book of the Week series could seem weird to readers who have followed it. One of the main reasons novels are being prohibited in 2022 is that up to this point, the books have mainly dealt with LGBTQ characters and ideas. For instance, the article from last week covered George M. Johnson’s All Boys Aren’t Blue:

However, these are not the only novels that have recently been prohibited. For a variety of causes, including profanity, sex, violence, and others, school districts try to impose book bans. However, what most disturbs me about The Handmaid’s Tale restrictions is that they appear to target the book’s alleged political content and anti-Christianity.

For a First Amendment student, the concept of a school district banning a book due to its political and religious viewpoint may seem… well… completely at odds with the free speech rights the First Amendment is meant to defend. It is the government that decides what political and religious beliefs are acceptable, which, prior to the current Supreme Court, we may infer precisely fell under the category of Not Okay.

The Handmaid’s Tale: Why Was It Banned?

1. Moral and religious objections

Some critics contend that “The Handmaid’s Tale” promotes immoral behavior and questions religious beliefs. The novel’s portrayal of a society in which women are coerced into reproductive servitude conflicts with traditional religious beliefs, resulting in criticism and censorship attempts.

2. Explicit language and sexual content

The book explores sexuality-related subjects and uses explicit language, which has upset certain people and institutions. Calls for its erasure from school curricula and libraries have been sparked by this.

3. Political Dissension

The political themes brought up in “The Handmaid’s Tale” have caused controversy. The novel has generated controversy and been the target of censorship in some nations due to its comments on authoritarianism, gender inequality, and reproductive rights.

The Handmaid’s Tale’s themes are explored

1. Power and Gender

In a society where gender equality has been abandoned, Atwood examines the power relationships between men and women. The Handmaids, who act as reproductive organs, are oppressed and dehumanized, illuminating the negative effects of strict patriarchal rule.

2. Biological Rights

The novel addresses the subject of women’s reproductive rights and body control. It highlights concerns about autonomy, freedom of choice, and the possible repercussions of restricting women’s access to reproductive technology.

3. Absolutism and Dystopia

The dystopian society depicted in “The Handmaid’s Tale” is one where authoritarian rule is prevalent. Atwood emphasizes the value of defending individual liberty and opposing oppressive systems by exploring the perils of an oppressive system.

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Investigating and comprehending

The rights of women have come under numerous attacks in the US. People who lament the passing of the “good old days” frequently speak of the time when women were responsible for cooking and caring for the children while the men went to work. In addition to experiencing extreme amounts of workplace harassment, women typically make up only 84% of what males do for the same job. They face pressure to stay at home after giving birth, and if they take their fully permitted (albeit frequently underpaid) maternity leave, they are frequently criticized for not being committed enough employees.

Even the advancements gained by women over the past 50 years are in jeopardy with Roe v. Wade’s demise. A large portion of this nation views them as less valuable human beings, and in a patriarchal society, the belief that women are less adept at being men than males promotes this attitude. In other words, unlike what most people would like to think, we are not that far removed from Gilead.

1. Was “The Handmaid’s Tale” based on a true story? Is “The Handmaid’s Tale” based on anything true?

The opposite is true in the book “The Handmaid’s Tale”. To construct a convincing dystopian future, Atwood has instead drawn influence from historical occurrences and sociological tendencies.

2. What makes “The Handmaid’s Tale” a feminist book?

Due to its examination of gender inequality, reproductive rights, and the implications of patriarchal rule, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is frequently regarded as a feminist book. It questions established gender roles and emphasizes the value of women’s autonomy and agency.

3. Have other media been made into an adaptation of “The Handmaid’s Tale”?

Yes, “The Handmaid’s Tale” has been successfully transformed into a television series, expanding its cultural effect and audience. The series has received favorable reviews and reignited interest in the first book.

4. What does it mean that the Handmaids are dressed in red robes?

The Handmaids’ scarlet robes represent their lower position and serve as a visual reminder of their assigned tasks.


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