The Handmaid's tale

The work of Margaret Atwood

Biographies / introductions to Atwood

(see also the section Biography of Margaret Atwood)

  • Margaret Atwood, a biography - Nathalie Cooke, published ECW Press, 1998
  • The Cambridge Companion to Margaret Atwood - edited by Coral Ann Howells published
  • Margaret Atwood: A Beginner's Guide - Pilar Cudar, published Hodder and Stoughton, 2003
  • Scarlet Letters: The Handmaid's Tale - Lee Briscoe Thompson, published ECW Press, 1997

Other relevant texts by Margaret Atwood

poem This is a photograph of me (see chapter 35) - also available online
poem Half-Hanged Mary (see chapter 46) - also available online
Negotiating with the Dead - Atwood, published Cambridge University Press 2002
Oryx and Crake - Atwood
The Year of the Flood - Atwood

Literature with related themes and interests

The following can be found published in a number of editions:

Dystopias and speculative fiction

  • 1984 - George Orwell
  • The Chrysalids - John Wyndham
  • Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
  • Oryx and Crake - Atwood
  • The Year of the Flood - Atwood


Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
Beloved - Toni Morrison
Sacred Hunger - Barry Unsworth
Property - Valerie Martin

Puritanical societies and religious hypocrisy

  • The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Elmer Gantry - Sinclair Lewis
  • The Crucible - (drama) Arthur Miller
  • Faith Healing - (poem) Philip Larkin

Repression of books and language

  • Mountain Language - (drama) Harold Pinter
  • Translations - (drama) Brian Friel
  • The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

Nazi oppression

  • Schindler's Ark - Thomas Keneally


Putting Margaret Atwood and/or The Handmaid's Tale into a Google search will produce a vast amount of material. Self-evidently, Google searchers:

  • Need to use these sites with discrimination
  • Must be careful not to copy material when submitting work; examiners view plagiarism very seriously.

Atwood has her own:

Margaret Atwood publications on Amazon can be accessed at: Margaret Atwood Shop


There is a 1990 film of The Handmaid's Tale, with a screenplay by Harold Pinter, but there are some notable differences between the book and the film. In particular, whereas Atwood deliberately leaves the ending open, Nick's role unclear and Offred's fate unknown, the film shows her killing the Commander and escaping with Nick's assistance.


An opera based on The Handmaid's Tale opened in Copenhagen, then had its London premiere in 2003. As with the film, there are some alterations and additions in the opera, though the fate of Offred is left unknown.

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