Rainy Martini

May 09, 2012

Dystopia and I, Part II

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Three years after buying a copy (and undeniably forgetting about it for quite a time), I had finally finished it! There are so many things I want to write here and I have no inkling how to start.

The book is clearly a dystopian, set in the '80s or '90s, if I'm not mistaken. It's about the story of Offred (also narrated by her), a handmaid. A handmaid in the Republic of Gilead (formerly known as the USA in the book) is a woman whose job is to lie on her back every month with the Commander and hope that he impregnates her. Handmaids are only valued for their ovaries, as the population of Gilead is at a crisis. They only have three chances, if they fail, they'll be labeled as an Unwoman and will be sent to the colonies. Harsh work and suffering ahead. Ok I find it creepy, the way handmaids and commanders do it. BECAUSE THE WIFE IS THERE LOL. The handmaid lies at the middle of the commander and his wife. Her head on the wife's stomach (legs are also apart) and they hold hands while the beloved geezer of a commander grunts below. It's a sacred ceremony all right. Holding hands signify that the handmaid and wife are one, at least during sexy time.

The commanders and the wives are senior citizens. So seeding the handmaid requires a lot of thrust... oh-oh, I honestly meant to say "trust". Wtf. Back to the book, arrrgh I lost track of what I was going to say!!

My reaction:

Wow. Fuck no. Wow. Huhuhuhuhuhu.

I wrote a post 8 weeks ago about how I don't find dystopian novels exciting. I wasn't lying, but that didn't mean I hated the genre either (as probably mentioned, cross fingers!). Truth is, the reason why I lightly dismiss books written in the said genre is because I can't stand what's happening in the pages. And I'd just found out about that! The Handmaid's Tale made me realize everything I cannot accept.

As you can see, in the book, women are forbidden to read. They live with a heavy chain around their necks and a cluster of thorns for shoes—not literally. There are so many don't's it would be practical to just shut up and remain stupid.

I can't stand it; the oppression and abuse, albeit fictional. I'm all for freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom to have faith in any god you choose, freedom to think for yourself and freedom to look how you want yourself to look like. Isn't it obvious? The way I write, you see, it's carefree. I cuss, I use informal jargons, I don't fuss about my own stupidity that much and I'm usually flat-out honest. I could be humorous or annoying, depending on who's reading my posts. I exercise my freedom by letting myself write the way I want to without thinking about how people would react. I don't mind negative comments that much, getting criticized means you are something... most of the time. But really, you're free to think about what you think of me.

Just imagine living in a country where the only thing you should think of is doing housework, getting pregnant, wearing the same color of clothes every single day, not breaking a hilarious law and shutting up. The first four I can stand, but shutting up!? Okay, my mouth can. But how about my head!? There lives a really annoying blabbermouth who sounds like my own voice but a little older. Sometimes she looks like a jellyfish but I can morph her into something sexier, like a Persian cat.

I speak about my thoughts as if they are detached, disembodied and have their own sense of individuality. They do. OR I COULD BE CRAZY. It's kind of deep, but I do think like that. I always have two or more voices in my head arguing about different angles. That's why I'm good when it comes to debates (loool I've always been the leader). I'm a double-sided thinker.

The way my thoughts continue to form errr... thoughts even if I want to rest can be considered as a form of oppression. A personal one, silent and meek.

Oppression can happen inside your own head, this also means it could happen anywhere.

Wow I'm suddenly sleepy. Wait I really want to finish this. And wtf the dogs started howling and moaning and barking. ARE THEY SEEING A GHOST OR SOMETHING!? Oh noes omg. I'm the only one downstairs wtf scary.

I was heartened by the fact that in a very little way, Offred (the main character, you might have forgotten about her already because of my extreme blabberitiness) rebelled and stuck to her own belief but still found ways to somehow protect herself and her own thoughts. I'm not saying that rebellion is a good thing. But it's not always bad either. What, you're being treated cruelly and you won't even stand up for yourself? You've been accused of something you didn't do and just let them punish your ass?

Rebellion doesn't always mean war or violence. It can be done in small, various ways. Like, when you start arguing about the fact that you're truly innocent and didn't steal your neighbor's underwear; that's rebellion. When your mother prepared a veggie meal but you didn't eat it and bought pizza instead. Guess what? Rebellion.

Rebellion is a real flexible ninja, you won't even notice it's there... most of the time. It can be something good or something evil...

At least that's how I see it. You don't have to agree with me. We could argue if you want to. Loljk.

So yeah.

I enjoyed the book, although I shook my head in disapproval at some pages. It's a precious work of art, I admire the author, Margaret Atwood, for being such a brave soul. Writing something like that is never a piece of cake. I wanna thank her and the book for making me realize how strong the super glue that connects myself and my beliefs together is.

Sorry but I really can't write anymore. So sleepy. It's already 2:08 AM, 8th May. I'm gonna schedule this post though.

The conclusion is, I don't hate dystopians, it's just something that I should take seriously, in my opinion. That means I will not read them for leisure, but rather, for reflecting. I will never flip one open for light reading.

I'm not sure if anyone will read this from start to end but I don't mind, as long as I get these words published. Yeay.

'Til next time, dear reader!


  1. Anonymous9/5/12

    You sound very strong, mature and sensitive for your age. God bless!

  2. I've heard about this book more than a couple of times, I have never read it personally though.

    Oh, btw, I love the way you write. I find it interesting and somewhat humorous. :D

  3. Oh wow, that was heavy. I haven't read any books with that kind of genre. I find it interesting but at the same time weird. It's the same with the women back in middle ages or something where they're coined as useless in the society. Well, I really love the review :)
    Anyway, I put your banner up in my site, hope we can exchange. ^^

  4. @Anon I do? Woah.

    @Veron thank you :D

    @Wyona thank you :D I'm not sure if I should recommend you read it but uh... it's a good eye-opener and I'm sure you'll enjoy it too. I'll put up your banner, too.

  5. cute!!!


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  7. herh...? got 2 random and unrelated comments consecutively. o.O

  8. I think it goes further than 80s or 90s. Probably, 16th centuries or whatever olden days.

    Heavy literature there. But the author values women pride. Since the heroine stood up for what she believed in and fought for it. It is definitely a better story than Twilight. (Actually, everything is a better story than Twilight. Okay, too much 9gag.)

    Regarding the comments above, I think they're spam?

  9. @Aencille no it can't be, because there were stuff called compucounts and compubanks. Then there are cars, ultrasound, television.

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  11. I've read this too, though it took me months to finish it. I found it boring at first, but then it get's interesting towards the middle part. It was worth it, good read!


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