For her summer read, Aarushi chooses The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood because of its focus on women’s rights and the art of survival.
Aarushi Bhardwaj, Development Intern
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Why did you pick this book?
It’s full of eerie parallels to our current political situation, as well as warnings about how we should never get too comfortable in thinking that hard-won rights for women will never be lost. Every little detail in the book, from the “aunts” who keep the other women in line to the red dresses worn by the sex-slave handmaids, were drawn from history. We can easily backslide into male-dominated religious fundamentalism. The book insists that we do it all the time.
What is your favorite quote from this book? Why?
“In reduced circumstances the desire to live attaches itself to strange objects.”
The quote talks about the desire to live and to survive, which is present in Offred, no matter how passive she seems. She endures her circumstances, despite periodic thoughts of suicide, because she wants to continue living. This will to live can help make small pleasures have great importance.
What is your favorite memory of summer reading growing up – do you have an anecdote to share?
My parents began the tradition of going on a pilgrimage with my brother and I when we were very young. We continue to try to take time out to continue our family tradition. The idea of a “pilgrimage” is to choose a theme to explore for the whole summer. Reading books, visiting museums, creating experiences at home, and going to restaurants were also included depending on the theme we chose.
What does literacy mean to you – why is it important?
Literacy opens doors. It allows us to express our thoughts and make sense of the world around us. Teaching children to be literate gives them a gift they’ll have for the rest of their lives.
As the summer heats up, we’ve been busy reading – check out our staff picks:
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