English Department selects The Handmaid's Tale for common text 2007

English Department selects Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale for common text

From the English Department

Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale will be the common text for fall 2007.

Atwood’s dystopian tale imagines that the United States has been overthrown and transformed into the totalitarian, theocratic Republic of Gilead. In this new nation citizens have their individual freedoms taken away: All actions are under surveillance, literacy is eliminated and dress codes are mandated.

The fertility rate is dangerously low and the population is declining, so fertile women are kept as “handmaids” to bear the children of the elite. The novel is told from the point of view of Offred, one of these handmaids.

Common Text week will be Oct. 1-5. The Division of Student Affairs and the English Department will organize book club groups, student panels, a discussion forum, and analysis of the film version of the novel as a way to promote conversations about the text.

Organizations or individuals who would like to incorporate the text into classroom or campus activities are encouraged to e-mail Dr. Amy Muse, interim common text chair, English Department.