Silence and Powerlessness: is Offred’s voice powerful?

Read Rebecca Solnit’s article ‘Silence and Powerlessness: Women’s Voices Must Be Heard’ published in The Guardian (8 March 2017) and consider her point about the power of speaking up and being listened to.

Solnit says, ‘A free person tells her own story.’  How free is Offred to tell her own story?

How freely does Offred share her story with others?

What purpose does telling her story serve Offred?  Consider her intention and motivation.

Is Offred’s account powerful?

Is her account a case of a voice speaking up and yet going unheard?

What do you think Atwood wants her audience to consider, given the way the novel ends?


A Handmaid’s Tale isn’t science fiction, it’s a warning

A [sic] Handmaid’s Tale isn’t science fiction, it’s a warning. (Sydney Morning Herald)


While it may be classified as fiction, to me the series is a look at history – not back in time, but forward. And at the rolling of the final episode’s credits, I was left mute with fear, horror and foreboding, for this is not just entertainment but a salient reminder our rights aren’t rigid but already unravelling. Especially for women.

McCarthyism and Arthur Miller


Read, in Arthur Miller’s own words, his inspiration for the play and his insistence of the truth about human behaviour and the social forces at the heart of it.

‘More than a political metaphor, more than a moral tale, The Crucible, as it developed over more than a year, became the awesome evidence of the power of the human imagination inflamed, the poetry of suggestion, and the tragedy of heroic resistance to a society possessed to the point of ruin.’