22 book club questions for The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale has been on our TBR for quite some time. However, due to the political events that happened in the States, we decided it was time to review and create a discussion guide about the acclaimed novel that, sadly, has become more of a reality than a fictional work.

This title was part of our Amazon Book Club Pick, which you can join at any time here. We provide some questions and discussions you can participate on without spending any meetings or video time!

Also, we count all the answers to these questions in our membership on Ko-Fi here. However, if you are looking for how to pick your book for your book club, how to run your book club or even other book club books that you can use, feel free to review all our free available resources!

Note, we recommend using the affiliate links in this post to get the same version we did so that the page number matches our answers.

Ice Breaking Questions

  1. Can a society die for too much choice?
  2. “Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it”. Do you think that people have to work and put an effort to be ignorant?
  3. Women are used for breeding and babies are valuable possessions… but who earns something for giving birth to a healthy baby? The Handmaids or the commanders?
  4. Is this a women’s culture? What do you understand about “women’s culture”?
  5. “You might even provide a heaven for them. We need you for that. Hell we can make for ourselves”. What does the main character of the book mean by this?

Feminist Questions

  1. What are the roles of women in the novel?
  2. Why aren’t the Marthas and the Handmaiden allowed to fraternize?
  3. In one single word, what are women in the novel?
  4. In the novel, women are given around and are forced to breed. Why is this so shocking?
  5. Why do they, the ones in power, treat the Handmaids as “girls”?
  6. Why does Offred steal things?
  7. On Page 237 the commander says “ Women know that instinctively. Why did they buy so many different clothes, in the old days? To trick the man into thinking they were several different women”. What do you think about this quote?
  8. Why are women not allowed to read or write? Why are books forbidden?
  9. Why did they revert the right of holding property to women?

Literary Questions

  1. Why do they dress in red? And why that color defines them?
  2. “There are only women who are fruitful and women who are barren; that’s the law” why only women?
  3. “Every month there is a moon, gigantic, round, heavy, an omen.” What is the symbolism of the moon in the novel? What is the impact of the moon cycle on the reproductive cycle of women?
  4. What is the implication of the handmaids losing their name and that their “original name” is forbidden?

Other Questions

  1. In this régimen men are the most beneficiated but… are all men beneficiated? Or only the ones in power?
  2. Page 24, quote: “Don’t underrate freedom from.” What does that mean?
  3. On page 112 it says: “They can’t check if their pregnancy is good or bad or if the baby is healthy…or dead. Either way they can’t abort…” is that a reflection of why is happening nowadays? In which countries is an abortion of any kind illegal?
  4. What do censorship and restriction bring to society?

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