Currently Reading: The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

currently reading posts

I said in one of my previous posts that I wanted to talk more about my current reads. So, I decided to start writing short posts such as this one in which I’m going to tell you a little bit about the book I’m reading, share some of my thoughts on it, and maybe share an interesting quote. Hope you’ll like them!

The book I’m currently reading is The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood. It’s a well-known book, I think, so most of you probably know what it’s about.

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In this novella (I’d say it’s a novella since it’s only 198 pages long), Atwood allows Penelope, Odysseus’s wife, to tell her own story. Penelope talks about the events from The Illiad and The Oddysey from her own point of view. She shares her thoughts and feelings in a manner which seems very sincere. This Penelope is not just a loyal wife who waits her her husband – she actually hates that this is how she is remembered. The prose is raw, clever, and ruthless.

The very first paragraph really caught my attention, and I think it really shows what this book is about. So, I’ll leave you with this paragraph, and hopefully it will make you want to read the book. πŸ™‚

Now that I’m dead I know everything. This is what I wished would happen, but like so many of my wishes it failed to come true. I know only a few factoids that I didn’t know before. Death is much too high a price to pay for the satisfaction of curiosity, needless to say.

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Quote for Thought: The Handmaid’s Tale

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“We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.”

– Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

This quote really rings true to me. Most people see the bad things that are going on, but choose to ignore it. Especially if it’s something that’s happening to someone else. While I was reading The Handmaid’s Tale, some parts reminded me of the famous WWII-related poem by Martin NiemΓΆller:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak outβ€”
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak outβ€”
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak outβ€”
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for meβ€”and there was no one left to speak for me.

And, in the end, what can one little voice do? How can I stop something that is so much larger than me?Β That’s a question no one really has an answer to. Turning the head away is the easy way. It gives us the comfort of not being seen, the freedom to live on, without danger.

We were the people who were not in the papers. We were the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom.

– Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

I’m not an optimist, or an idealist, so I can’t really find a good answer to all of this. To be honest, sometimes I don’t have faith in people, at all. But, hopefully, everything that’s going on in the world right now is not leading to another horrible period in history. And hopefully, we will always be able to speak up when we feel the need to.