The Handmaid's Tale

Can’t Buy Me Love: Romance in the Handmaid’s Tale College

In the world of literature, it is all about your reputation.

Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, an Orwellian romp into the near future lead by a female protagonist, received both the kiss of death and the gift of notoriety when it was labeled a “feminist dystopia.” Similar to when a celebrity “tweets” a comment that is remotely debatable, the conversation among literary critics erupted following this instance of labeling. However, the situation surrounding Atwood’s novel was slightly different from celebrity Twitter fodder because the author never actually labeled her book a feminist dystopia; others did it for her. In fact, Atwood has tended to resist the label others have given her work. When pressed about her own beliefs, she admitted that she is a feminist if the definition of feminism is a “belief in the rights of women... [as] equal human beings” adding that if “practical, hardline, anti-male feminists took over and became the government” she would “resist them.”

Nevertheless, critics continue to debate over whether or not The Handmaid’s Tale is a feminist text. Of course, it is difficult to debate this topic objectively because, like Atwood, individuals have their own definitions of feminism ranging from Atwood’s...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1174 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 9057 literature essays, 2374 sample college application essays, 399 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in