Monday, October 1, 2012

Banned Books Week: The Handmaid's Tale

From 1990-1999 it was the 37th most challenged book and from 2000-2009 it was the 88th. A Judson, Tex., school superintendent banned the novel from an advanced placement English curriculum after a parent complained that it was sexually explicit and offensive to Christians. In doing so, the superintendent overruled the recommendation by a committee of teachers, students, and parents. The committee appealed the decision to the school board, which overruled the superintendent in 2006. Read more here

The Handmaid's Tale isn't a pretty story. It isn't fluffy and the ending is certainly one you can take as glass half full or half empty. It's your decision to have hope or feel despair for the characters involved and it is overall very, very heavy. After reading the book for the first time I was left sitting with my eyes large and my mind over processing the entire tale. It's scary because such a world could exist and it's written well enough to really connect with your own emotions. That barrier between reader and story becomes nearly non-existent. To see my more extensive thoughts about the book and the general review of it check out what I wrote back in August.

This book is sexually explicit in that it discusses the character's freedom being taken away - including their sexual desires and actions. Every little aspect, right down to taking a bath, is controlled by rules and regulations. That's the horror of this novel. The offense to Christians I'm not entirely sure what they mean. A radical Christian based group takes over, yes, but the religions that we know of are persecuted, all of them, and they are not targeted as necessarily a bad thing. This religious sector that was created for the novel is the bad guy, not Christians as a whole.   ©2012 Erica R Hopper. Please quote or link back, do not repost as your own. soonrememberedtales.blogspot.com
The Handmaid's Tale essentially describes a world where everything is regulated and the government has complete control over its people. Any book with a sense of totalitarian power seems to be a target for those whom want to control what people read. Funny, isn't it?



So, by banning a book and essentially taking away the control of whether or not people choose to read it no matter their opinion is an exercise of control and a removal of people's freedom overall. Aren't those who are seeking to ban a book that has a totalitarian mindset basically just proving the fears the fictional book are addressing? Granted, the world isn't as horrible as it is in The Handmaid's Tale but I feel that what frightens people so badly about the book they are in turn acting out by trying to prevent others from reading it.

This book is sexually explicit in that it discusses the character's freedom being taken away - including their sexual desires and actions. Every little aspect, right down to taking a bath, is controlled by rules and regulations. That's the horror of this novel. The offense to Christians I'm not entirely sure what they mean. A radical Christian based group takes over, yes, but the religions that we know of are persecuted, all of them, and they are not targeted as necessarily a bad thing. This religious sector that was created for the novel is the bad guy, not Christians as a whole. 


©2012 Erica R Hopper. Please quote or link back, do not repost as your own. soonrememberedtales.blogspot.com
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