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Discussion Guide

The Handmaid's Tale

By Margaret Atwood

With terrifying understatement, this novel narrates the life of a college-educated mother ripped from her career and family to be a slave, in a dystopian United States too plausible to be forgotten. Forbidden by a fanatical government to read, choose their own clothes or appear in public alone, handmaids fulfill an awful purpose as the servants of wealthy families. All the while, however, strange new friendships emerge between the powerless and the powerful, as revolution glimmers on the horizon.
Discussion Questions

Use these discussion questions to guide your next book club meeting.

Who is responsible for maintaining Gilead society in the novel, women or men?

What does this novel want romance to be? Why do you think the relationship with Nick is there? With Luke? Why does Atwood make Offred a mother?

What seems dated about the way Atwood imagines a dystopian society? What seems topical and convincing today?

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