The Handmaid’s Tale
From plot debriefs to key motifs, Thug Notes’ The Handmaid’s Tale Summary & Analysis has you covered with themes, symbols, important quotes, and more. First published in 1985, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood has also been adopted for the cinema, radio, opera, and stage.
The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) | Written by: Margaret Atwood | Published by: The Classic Collection
The Handmaid’s Tale = A Whack-Ass Future For Women?
Thug Notes Summary & Analysis
What’s happenin’ yall? This week we
bendin’ over for da man with The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.
The shit’s gone HAM up in da USA, where a crew of bible-thumpin honkies brought down da government, took a shit on the constitution, and now they runnnin da game wit a new society called Gilead. And up in G-town, da man always hatin on women: they cain’t own property, work, read, learn- nothin. They jus’ get tossed in a house and gotta do what they told.
And since mutha Earth been fucked by pollution, syphillis, and all kinda otha mess, most women can’t pop out babies no mo. To keep da human race alive, some women are captured and turned in to Handmaids- which are basically baby-makin sex slaves.
Dis story followin da life of Offred. Girl tried to bail to Canada wit her fam, but she got GOT by da fuzz and brought to da Re- education Center where they gonna brainwash her in to a true blue Handmaid. Offred eventually becomes da Handmaid for some brutha name Commander Fred who she gotta get buck nasty wit’ while layin’ on his wife Serena. And ain’t nobody ejoyin themselves.
Illustration note: Serena laying on her back. back of Offred’s head is on top of Serena’s pelvis.
What Serena don’t know tho, is dat da Commander and Offred been chillin like she mo’ than jus’ his booty call.
They doin da kinkiest things you can think of: scrabble and magazine readin. MMMM MMMMM! Offred ain’t really feelin’ their lil’ date nights, but she go along with it anyway.
One day Offred out shopping with a sistah named Ofglen when she like “Say girl. Keep this on the DL but I’m a member of da resistance called “Mayday” dat tryna stick to dem Gilead haters.”
Pissed dat a bitch ain’t gotten preggers yet, Serena say she’ll, give Offred info on her long lost daughter if she bangs the gardner Nick. Serena wanna get rid of Offred REAL BAD. Turns out, diddling Nick’s dangle is pretty sweet, and they start bangin on da reg.
Later, Offred get word dat Ofglen offed herself cuz she was afraid da secret po-lice were comin’ to git her. When Serena find out bout Offred hittin da club wit her hubby, girl gets MAD crunk. Not long after, two bustas roll up in a van to take Offred away. But Nick say “don’t trip, girl. They actually Mayday members comin’ to save yo ass.” So Offred get tossed in dat van, not knowin’ whether she bout to be freed or get wrecked.
Da book end wit a section called “Historical Notes.” Bout two centuries later, some stuffy-ass professor talkin bout Gilead and da fact dat The Handmaid’s Tale might be a buncha bullshit. Da hell?
Now if you dun peeped dis text, you might be askin yo’self: Why da hell is da story so janky and out of order? Da main character Offred- even tho dat ain’t her real name, tellin this story like she time trippin o’ somethin.
Illustration: show going from past to present
Well there’s a good reason for dat homeboy. Like Offred herself tellin’ us:
Sparky reads quote: “I’m sorry there is so much pain in this story. I’m sorry it’s in fragments, like a body caught in crossfire or pulled apart by force.” (267)
Da structure of dis novel is all jacked up cuz that’s exactly how Offred feelin: broken, to’ up, and confused as hell as to how errything in da world went to shit.
Sho, Atwood givin us explicit reasons errything so twisted- like pollution and syphillis, but there’s mo’ to it than that, padna. Think of dis book like a thought experiment, where Atwood takin common ignant thoughts bout women like: “women should be stay in their place” and show us where dat kinda hateful thinkin can lead us.
When you got a whole society tryna to put women in a box like dat, it gonna make em in to empty, choiceless drones dat don’t serve no purpose otha’ than poppin’ out babies. Sheeit, you can peep dat dehumanizing effect by the fact that Offred ain’t even got a real name. Girl feelin like she already dead.
Sparky reads quote: “all the people I could love are dead or elsewhere….They might as well be nowhere, as I am for them. I too am a missing person.” (103)
In the end, it looks like things have turned out a’ight. Or do it? We get some uppidy professor yappin bout Offred’s story like it’s da distant past. But on da real, he usin da same kinda woman-hatin logic sayin dat her story prolly ain’t even legit. And dat’s da same whack-ass jive dat turned the USA in to Gilead. So truth is, dis book just straight up depressing as hell.
But chin up, homeboy, cuz dat subscribe button is still there to cheer yo ass up. So hit it and catch me next week, playas. Peace.