Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale, came to a student’s rescue on Twitter after they reached out to her for answers.
Asking via the Twitter handle ‘GavrilovMomchil’, they write:
“My crazy English teacher is making us write essays on #TheHandmaidsTale where we are supposed to answer why @MargaretAtwood put the theme of power and control in the book. We do not have telepathy with @MargaretAtwood so I guess twitter is a close second… Helpppp!!!”
My crazy English teacher is making us write essays on #TheHandmaidsTale tale where we are supposed to answer why @MargaretAtwood put the theme of power and control in the book. We do not have telepathy with @MargaretAtwood so I guess twitter is a close second... Helpppp!!!🥴— Momchil Gavrilov (@GavrilovMomchil) 8 November 2018
The student was not expecting a response from the author, expecting her to be busy or inundated with comments and requests, however a few hours later Margaret Atwood responded saying:
“Because it’s in the world. It’s not just women who are controlled in the book. It’s everyone except those at the top. Gilead is a theocratic totalitarianism, not simply a men-have-power women-do-not world. Lower-status men are told when and who marry, eg.”
Because it's in the world. (It's not just women who are controlled in the book.. it's everyone except those at the top. Gilead is a theocratic totalitariansim, not simply a Men-have-power Women-do-not world. Lower status men are told when and who marry, eg.) https://t.co/FDQJhe0eN4— Margaret E. Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) 8 November 2018
The responses from teachers were fantastic- but none so great as this response from the student’s own teacher who set the question!
I AM his English teacher, and I CAN confirm that I LOVE this! We are going to have a great class discussion this afternoon!— Jennifer Behan (@BehanJennifer) 9 November 2018
Interestingly Atwood’s tweets about power and control themes within her books are interspersed with her retweets concerning deceit and control through social media from powerful governing bodies. Responses came from all over- fans of the TV adaptation, dedicated readers, and new fans of Atwood’s latest work. It must have been so wonderful for the author to see her book being discussed in such ways 33 years after she wrote it. It certainly feels like The Handmaid’s Tale is her lasting legacy- and one that is still proving to be a stark warning for us all.
I also noticed the way that it happened...gradually, sneakily...and then when they become bolder, people shrug it off, not wanting to believe people in power are actually capable of controlling their lives, or really want to.— huminous (@huminous) 8 November 2018
I teach Margaret Atwood also in sociology and media classes! The Handmaid's tale is a treasure to study power, feminism, gender issues and nationalism, plus it is also an incredible story, and students love it.— Netchitailova (@Chitailova) 8 November 2018
Homework help from Margaret Atwood. Just when I was despairing about the scourge of the Internet. Hoping this student grows passionately aware of the impact and abuses of power in the novel and all around us.— Allie (@treehuggerallie) 8 November 2018