A Brief Conversation about the Handmaid’s Tale

My daughter just said something to make me proud.

She’s reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood for the first time, and is in the middle of it (literally, the book is split down the middle when open). I asked her where she was in the book.

“Offred and the Commander are playing Scrabble.”

“Scrabble, huh? Why?”

“The Commander wanted to play Scrabble.”

“Why doesn’t he just play it with his wife?”

“Because women aren’t supposed to write … or read.”

“Why not?”

“Because it will give them ideas. They might become rebellious.”

“How could reading make them rebellious?”

“They might read something different from what they were told was true. [pause] This book is scary.”

“It’s scary?”

“Yeah. It’s even more frightening because I think our society is heading this direction.”

“Keep reading.”



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