The Handmaid’s Tale: A Review

There is no doubt that fundamentalism and women’s rights, well human rights in general are like oil and water. Unlike a political dystopia as in Orwell’s “1984″ we get one formed of extreme Christianity that surprisingly does not focus on LGBT rights but rather on women’s rights which we see more with fundimentalist Muslims. As you may know from on discussion on Lovecraft, I am open about my views against religion even though I cannot answer if I believe in a higher power and someone else also expressed dislike towards organized religion. I honestly feel that a dystopia created around faith would take us far back into the Dark Ages as I believe religion to be the true weapon of mass destruction as it actually gives reasons albeit in my opinion man-made as opposed to just a political dystopia. In fact, I could maybe label this work as partially horror due to what Gilead is. Of course these topics are taboo in polite situation which is why I believe that many works on these issues must be speculative fiction as I mentioned two classes ago. Of course since I am extremely outspoken with my views this is also why I choose to specialize in writing fantasy. I do not mean to go on about that genre again but as mentioned in yesreday’s class, the two genres were considered very similar and I actually thought that the book was fantasy at first.

It is hard to imagine our bubbles of religion programmed into us for centuries being abused but this is why I consider my self extremely anti-religious to the fact that I have been threatened with Hell but I really feel sorrow for Offred and other women in general. A creepy part for me were the Marthas primarilly because that just seems a normal name used for a class of women but the women really did not have names at all and it really shows that women are seen as objects. The fact our protagonist is essentially a prostitute/baby-making tool albeit fortunately not dressed like Dejah Thoris because of the fundamentalist wackos of Gilead that just dehumanize them even more. This novel truly shows the darker side of Christianity at an extreme even moreso than the Westboro Baptist Church. Religion may seem all goodie two-shoes but I am not blind to its teachings that we are to stay away from such as its sexism and anti-homosexuality and for my pious classmates, I wonder perhaps if it opened your eyes. It is in my opinion easier to teach 1984 over “A Handmaid’s Tale” simply because it doesn’t involve religion. People are afraid of the truth which is why we as a class have discussed religion being created to ease the fear of the unknown(death) and I call it a bubble that needs to be burst open. If I were to be a high school teacher I would in fact make every last effort to teach this instead of Orwell’s work.

Also of interest to me is that a speculative work leaning higher on the SF scale is able to portray religion just like fantasy works can as I plan on doing if you check out some of the work on my blog including anti-religious poetry but I am not here to promote my site. With science fiction it can be expected that religion is disproven or minor as opposed to an imitation of a Medieval world. In fact it would be horrifying as we have moved on from the anti-humanism within religion to see the world go backwards and our scientific advances being naught. Then again this is a bias because of my fear/borderline paranoia of religion no matter how extreme or not it is. As an aside I find it surprising that this class is more focused on gender issues as opposed to race which would seem more obvious in science fiction due to aliens but I suppose that race can be dealt with in fantasy as well just like I thought gender was easier to discuss in fantasy. I really do believe that speculative fiction is the best way to deal with truths that really cannot be discussed in reality.


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