Handmaid’s Tale es­say gets a boost ... from At­wood

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&e -

TORONTO — A so­cial me­dia user who turned to Twit­ter for help in writ­ing an es­say on “The Handmaid’s Tale” has re­ceived in­valu­able in­sight — from none other than author Mar­garet At­wood her­self.

A Twit­ter user iden­ti­fied on­line as Mom­chil Gavrilov tweeted at the Can­lit giant early Thurs­day morn­ing with the plea: “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!!!??”

At­wood re­sponded hours later from her ver­i­fied ac­count with a quick les­son on the ma­jor themes of her 1985 novel, set in a world in which women are state prop­erty.

“Be­cause it’s in the world,” At­wood says in a tweet posted about 5 a.m. Thurs­day.

“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. Low­er­sta­tus men are told when and who (to) marry, eg.”

The de­tailed re­sponse de­lighted on­line on­look­ers, who had retweeted the ex­change more than 550 times and gave it al­most 3,000 “likes” within five hours.

At­wood took an ex­tra mo­ment to de­fend the teacher’s as­sign­ment as a wor­thy en­deav­our.

“Nor does that English teacher sound so crazy. Just sayin’. Though it might be the ad­mir­ing use of crazy, as in ‘Crazy, man!’” adds At­wood.

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