Literature The Handmaids Tale Discussion

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02:15:44 AM Jun 6th 2014
edited by
Removed this:
  • Artistic License Religion: Atwood's vision of a Christian theocracy doesn't cleave very closely to the Mosaic Law or The Talmud. (Contrast Jean Calvin's surprisingly non-dystopian Geneva in the 16th century.) Truth in Television since the book is a satire of the modern Christian right, which doesn't follow the Bible all that literally, either.
    • Alternatively, the book's politics can be read as extremist feminism and orthodox Christianity joining up and taking over the country, taking on a form that neither original party had ever wanted. Sort of an Ironic Hell for both groups.

It's not about real Mosaic law (or feminism). If you just compare this to the Christian right, and generic "conservatism" that tends to be similar regardless of what tradition it's nominally tied to, it's an exaggeration of what really is there, not artistic license.
02:32:23 AM Jun 6th 2014
edited by
Changed the following to be much simpler:

  • Corrupt Church: Fundamentalist Christianity cranked up to the point where it does not even resemble Christianity anymore, and was explicitly compared in the book with Iran.
    • Actually it's not even clear they're still even Christian per se: the group that started Gilead is named "the sons of Jacob" and they only ever quote the Old Testament, with nary a reference to Jesus. It could be some new Abrahamic religion distinct from Christianity, Islam or Judaism — perhaps "Jacobism"?
    • Not to mention the regime is constantly making war on rival Christian sects which they persecute, from Catholics to Quakers and Baptists. It's also explicitly racist, with African-Americans, whom the regime calls "the Children of Ham" exiled to "national homelands" in the Midwest on the lines of apartheid South Africa (though it's implied they may really just be killing them).

To just:
  • Corrupt Church: The country is run by a new Fundamentalist Christian group fulfilling just about every possible fear of what the most extreme Fundamentalist Christians might want to do if they had the power. It was explicitly compared in the book with Iran.

Besides of this being Discussion In The Main Page as well as speculation, the same thing applies as above: No, it's not very "Christian", but it's not anything new compared to some existing Fundamentalist and "Conservative" ideas, so we don't have to say it's not the same thing. Being all about the Old Testament is just one familiar modern "Conservative Christian" thing — and it's false that they never quote the New Testament here, there's the falsified Sermon of the Mount quote.
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