The Handmaid's Tale

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The Handmaid's Tale is a feminist science fiction novel by Margaret Atwood about women suffering under a fictional, oppressive, male-centered theocracy in the United States of America, which was based on an extreme extrapolation of contemporary fundamentalism. It was first published in 1985, and made into a movie in 1990.

"Freedom of" versus "Freedom from"

It could be argued that the main theme of the novel is "freedom of" (as in freedom to say whatever you want) and "freedom from" (as protection from other people's questionable form of communication). Such a theme is revealed early in memories of Offred (the main character) as she recollects her childhood when her mother brought her to a protest of women burning offensive magazines--including pornography. The successor to the US government, the Republic of Gilead, created a society based on a literal interpretation of the Old Testament to ensure superficially that no one could be offended, thus creating the ultimate "Do not yell fire in the theater" world.

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