The main impact/theme/idea this book has left me with is the presence and manipulation of power. This is shown in many ways like how the Aunt’s had cattle prods and used violence against the handmaidens when they acted beyond the rules. Offred’s commander also manipulates his position of power over Offred by making her break the rules and put herself in a position of danger for his own personal satisfaction. The whole governing body of Gilead also manipulate their position over the people, as they publicly kill the people that had careers or went against their ideals in ‘the time before’.
The main reason I think Atwood wrote the HMT was to make us think about how privileged we, especially as females, are to be relatively free and not forced into anything that we do not want to do. It is also to bring us to attention on the idea that all that she has wrote about has happened before and is happening now around us in more subtle ways, that women are being subjected to things like Offred was in many places and in many times.
“History proves that what we’ve been in the past we could be again”
Atwood was concerned about 1980’s debates about feminist attitudes, specifically towards sexuality and pornography. Feminists protesting about the demeaning nature of pornography were unnerved by religious groups seeking to ban pornography in order to “protect women”. This idea of religious zealots restricting women’s freedoms for “protective reasons is quite prominent in Atwood’s work. Atwood calls the novel speculative fiction- wht would occur if society closes its eyes to what is going on around the world. If people are paying attention, they may experience loss of freedoms. In worst case they may become slaves.