Written in 1985, the dystopian novel The maid's talefrom canadian Margaret Atwood, has become one of the most commented books in the world in recent months, returning to occupy a prominent position in the bestseller lists in several countries.
In addition to inspiring the eponymous series (The Handmaid's Tale, in the original) produced by the streaming channel Hulu, Atwood's futuristic fiction, set in a theocratic and totalitarian state in which women are preferred victims of oppression, becoming government property , and fundamentalism strengthens itself as a political force, it has gained oracle status in the Trump era. Amid all this buzz, O tale da maia returns to the shelves with a new cover, signed by the artist Laurindo Feliciano.
“I tell, instead of writing, because I have nothing to write with and, anyway, writing is prohibited. But if it's a story, even in my head, I must be telling it to someone. You don't just tell a story to yourself. There is always someone else. Even when there is no one. A story is like a letter. ”
The tale of Aia
The Handmaid's Tale is categorized as dystopia and as speculative fiction. Regarding the story, of a not too distant future (The book is portrayed as being 7 years in the future, thus, seven years after 1985, years in which the book was published), even so, everything is unrecognizable.
Everything happens where it was the USA, which was destroyed, and now it's called Republic from Gilead, with a totalitarian and theocratic government, completely destroying the constitution that existed there.
This being caused by great epidemics that was extinguishing the population, the incessant use of insecticides and pesticides, nuclear accidents, among others, ended up taking the world to a situation of infertility. Thus making women still fertile, a rarity. Which is what the Republic of Gilead focuses on, procreation.
And on top of that, using the laws of the Bible in an exaggerated way, to command the new republic that was established there.
Thus creating a society in which women had no authority, voice or rights. Being "used" for housework, that is, for women who were infertile. Those who still had the “gift” of creation, were used as handmaidens.
Women in the Republic of Gileard were divided into groups, representing their functions. That are:
- Asias: Of reproduction. That they are required to have relations with commanders and have children;
- The mink: Which are the women who are the maids, unable to have children.
- The wives: who are the wealthy wives. Commanders' wives.
- Econo-wives: poor wives;
- The aunts: Who are responsible for teaching the maids to perform their duties.
However, it is important to note that none of the women has freedom, or free arbitration within the Republic. For, each one must follow its “function”, without transgressions.
Thus, bringing a crucial point to the plot of the book, the Aias.
“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum”
The formation of the group of Aias
The republic of Gilead as I explained above, uses the Bible as a source of laws to be governed. Thus bringing the formation of the group of Aias, through the interpretation “To the letter” of an excerpt from the bible, which would be this:
“Seeing, therefore, Rachel who did not give Jacob children,
Rachel was envious of her sister, and said to Jacob:
Give me children, otherwise I will die. '
Then Jacob's wrath was kindled against Rachel and he said:
I am in the place of God, who prevented you
the fruit of your womb? '
And she said: 'Here is my handmaid, Bilhah;
Get in there so I can have kids on my knees,
and so I receive children for her. '”*
* Part is found in the title of the book O tale da Aia.
That the point of the plot of O tale da Aia. Yes, women who were fertile had the sole and exclusive purpose of becoming pregnant. Yes! it's terrible, and the book shows it as crudely as possible. We are thrown into a scenario, in which the woman is subjected to acts that are rather rape and to the authoritarianism that the system imposes on the nurses, that they are exclusively wombs that need to be fertilized. Thus removing any voice that the woman may have. And exposing her to a situation that cruelly links politics to sex.
The Handmaid's tale is narrated in the first person, by one of these Handmaids, who is Offred, our protagonist. Throughout the book, it describes what it is really like to live as a Handmaid, the routine, the abuse, and especially the pain of remembering what women once were. The voice and power that women had.
What ends up touching those who read, making us reflect on the “power and voice” we have now.
For those who read it, they already understand the discomfort that is this reading to the psychological. And for those who haven't read it, I can say that O Aia's story will really mess with you a lot, in me it caused a lump in my throat, a learning curve.
And the end of this book shows us that hope.
Why back to the top of the book The tale of Aia and its importance today
The book The Handmaid's Tale, originally released in 1985, is considered a contemporary classic in the United States and Canada. And yet, it returned in full force in 2017, with the release of the series: The Handmaid's Tale, on Hulu. which went on to win an Emmy and a Golden Globe.
Aia's short story gained space in feminism discussions. It is also used in excerpts from feminist demonstrations against US President Donald Tramp.
And for reporting in such a brutal way the exclusion of women's rights and the constitution, it takes us back to what we have today and what we can still achieve. With giant care, so that instead of progressing we don't regress. Making us a society without a voice.
We must rather fight for our rights, without forgetting what we once were, and without forgetting that the chaos and scarcity of our rights can indeed be a step closer.
“Was that how we lived then? But we lived as usual. Everyone lives, most of the time. Whatever is happening is usual. Even this is usual now. We lived, as usual, by ignoring it. Ignoring is not the same as ignorance, you have to strive to do it. Nothing changes instantly: in a bathtub that gradually warms you would be boiled to death before you know it. There were stories in the newspapers, of course. Bodies found in ditches or in the forest, clubbed or maimed, who had undergone degradation, as they used to say, but these matters were about other women, and the men who did that kind of thing were other men. ”
Some punches in the stomach in the form of Quotes
“The world is full of weapons, if you are looking for them. I should have paid attention. ”
“I am sorry that there is so much suffering in this story. I am sorry that it is in fragments, like a body caught in a crossfire or broken into pieces by force. But there is nothing I can do to change it. ”
“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. [...] But I will not tolerate a woman teaching, nor usurping the authority of the man, just that she remains silent. ”
“The body is so easily damaged, so easily disposed of, disposing of it is so easy, water and chemical substances are all they are, little more complicated than a jellyfish drying on the sand.”
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