One Book One Community

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret AtwoodThe Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, has been selected as the featured read for the Alliance area One Book One Community program for 2019.

Atwood will present the Schooler Lecture at the University of Mount Union at 8 p.m., April 10, and the committee is collaborating with the university to bring several opportunities for area residents to explore the themes of the book.

Originally published in 1985 and now resurging onto bestseller lists, The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel that tells the story of Offred, a handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian government. The book, set in New England, tells the tale of how Offred and other handmaids recall snippets of the days when women were allowed to read, have families, and wear what they wanted.

In a New York Times article published in 2017, Atwood said she began writing the novel at a time when she was living in West Berlin before the Wall fell. “During my visits to several countries behind the Iron Curtain -- Czechoslovakia, East Germany -- I experienced the wariness, the feeling of being spied on, the silences, the changes of subject, the oblique ways in which people might convey information, and these had an influence on what I was writing,” Atwood wrote.

The following community discussions will be on Tuesdays at 7 p.m.:

March 19, 2019

  • Francis Schortgen, Mount Union associate professor and chair of political science and international studies, will present “The Road to and from Unfreedom: Understanding Political Resistance in a Global Context” in the Fellowship Hall of the Union Avenue United Methodist Church.

March 26, 2019

  • University of Mount Union professor Theresa Davis, department chair and assistant professor of history, and David Thiele, department chair and associate professor of English, will discuss the way in which Atwood's novel engages the dystopian possibilities of real-world utopian experiments from history, focusing on the Kingdom of Matthias, an attempt to create a utopian community during the 1830s. “Faith and Freedom in The Handmaid’s Talewill be presented at the Y.W.C.A.

Copies of The Handmaid’s Tale will be available to check out and for purchase at Rodman Main and Branch Libraries. The book will also be for sale at the University Store at the University of Mount Union. The cost is $10.