The Handmaid’s Tale

Reflection on Margaret Atwood’s remarks in MSmagazine, summer 2017

Mary E. Latela, June 16, 2017

I recall feeling very shocked, yet alert, on first reading “The Handmaid’s Tale” some twenty years ago, in a lively book group led by a prof from UMaine. To find myself unable to see left to right, not to see the sky, the stars, the sun rising and setting, would only be bearable if I had never enjoyed these pleasures. But even a faint memory of beauty, of the pursuit of a large world view, of making decisions with absolute retribution understood, would add to my usual fear and skepticism.

I say boldly, NO! I would never allow my life to be limited by outside forces, by a malevolent perspective of history, of hangings for sins of some earlier age, stepping off the carefully laid paths decorated with somber warnings, even red – my favorite color – defiled by someone else’s twisted values.

“Ordinary … “is what you are used to. This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time it will. It will become ordinary.”

These days, I shiver at the evil that men and women do, that gangs of hatred delight in, that selfish, egocentric “leaders” use in their upside-down view of power and authority. May we never be silent.


About @LatelaMary

Author of 14 self-help books, five still available: Prepare Him Room, Ten Steps to Peace, Healing the Abusive Family, Moments for Mothers. Breaking the Boxes: critique of institutions vs. individuals. Work-in-progress: Memoir (Sorting out Secrets)
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