The Handmaid's Tale - Research Article from Literature and Its Times

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by Margaret Atwood

Born in 1939 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Margaret Atwood worked as a cashier, waitress, market research writer and film script writer before publishing her own poetry in 1961. The publication of The Edible Woman in 1969 won her fame as a novelist. Atwood's novels became part of a new wave of fiction writing by feminists who wrote both to entertain and to dramatize the plight of women. In 1986 Atwood published The Handmaid's Tale. In part, the novel was a response to the decade's rise of right-wing politicians and preachers who had fomented a backlash against the gains made by the feminist movement in the 1960s and '70s.

Events in History at the Time of the Novel

Feminism before the 1960s. After women gained the vote in Canada in 1918 and in the United States in 1920, the feminist consciousness seemed eclipsed by other issues. During the Great Depression...

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This section contains 4,078 words
(approx. 14 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy The Handmaid's Tale Encyclopedia Article
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Literature and Its Times
The Handmaid's Tale from Literature and Its Times. ©2008 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.