The Handmaid’s Tale - The Summary Guy

The Handmaid’s Tale

By The Summary Guy

  • Release Date: 2018-02-11
  • Genre: Study Aids


The Handmaid’s Tale - A Complete Summary

The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel written by Margaret Atwood. The story of the novel is set at the end of the 20th century, sometime after 1985. The story’s premise is that a group of “evil” Christians took over the United States and renamed it the Republic of Gilead. Birth rates begin dropping steadily as women are stripped of all their former rights. The women are also divided into one of a few functions available to their gender. If a woman is fertile, she is given to a “Commander” who will take care of her. If a woman cannot have any children, she is sent to the mines, where she works as a slave. 

The plot revolves around one of these women – a Handmaid (she known as ‘Offered’) and her story. Most of the story alternates between flashbacks and present day. In flashbacks, we see what the Handmaid’s life was like before the Republic of Gilead was created and several events that followed. The novel ends with a “Historical Note”, which was supposedly written by a historian in 2195.  
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