Margaret Atwood – telling it like it is


An unpalatable truth turned into dystopian fiction won Canadian writer Margaret Atwood multiple awards in 1985 for The Handmaid’s Tale, and it swept the Emmy boards this year for the televised version. Set in the near future, it focuses on the subjugation of women, turned into breeding cows,  in a New England Christian fundamentalist community and their struggle for independence. She says every example she used in her fantasy has happened somewhere in the world.

She’s amazingly prolific, having written novels, children’s books, poetry collections, ebooks, non-fiction, invented a remote signing device and is an environmental activist. A Canadian treasure.

Born 18 November 1939 5pm Ottawa, she grew up home schooled initially, travelling the Quebec backwoods because of her father’s entomology research and was a voracious reader of fairy tales, animals books and mysteries.

She has a hard-working and intense 6th house Scorpio Sun in a rebellious opposition to Uranus squaring onto an ambitious and competitive 10th house Mars Moon in Aquarius – so she’s not only ultra-determined, stubborn to the nth degree, but also intent on making her voice heard and a name for herself. An accentuated Moon on the point of a T Square, especially in the 10th, does point to a public career and the need for an audience for whom she cares and from whom she receives appreciation.

Her Mercury in outspoken Sagittarius is conjunct charming though always colourful Venus, which will soften her interactions with the public. Though her 3rd house Pluto will make her dig deep for answers and she’ll come across forcefully.

She also has a Yod of Sun sextile Neptune inconjunct self-reliant Saturn in Aries, which would set her apart from the general crowd and requires real maturity to get the best out of it, but she’s clearly managed.

It’s not the easiest chart for close relationships, especially with her North Node in Libra, but she has been partnered for over 40 years with novelist and non-fiction writer Graeme Gibson, 9 August 1934, who has been an energetic promoter of Canadian writers. He has Sun Moon in Leo which falls in her 4th house, so positive for a family bond. Though his Sun squares her Sun and Uranus, and his Saturn is in her 10th conjunct her Moon Mars, with his Uranus conjunct her Saturn, so it would be a working partnership with a few scratchy edges.

Their relationship chart has an affectionate composite Sun Venus square Jupiter, which would smooth over a good many problems; though the composite Mars Uranus would erupt a few storms along the way. Sadly he seems to have early dementia now.

She is an enormously strong woman for whom the idea of submission would be horrifying, so she fights for those weaker and in less fortunate circumstances. 30 years on from first publication The Handmaid’s Tale has found its time again, as the world appears to be regressing back into Trumpsville with fundamentalist religious/cultural practices on the rise. What an unholy combination. Pussy-grabbers and ISIS in complete agreement on the status of women.


2 thoughts on “Margaret Atwood – telling it like it is

  1. I think Margaret Atwood is one of the most significant writers for me personally. I read “The Handmaid’s Tale” for the first time as a young teenager, and could relate even then. While the show isn’t a direct adaptation – for instance, they never give the true name of Offred away in the novel, although many readers guessed it -, the series captures tones of the novel perfectly. It’s not an easy watch, but significant. Elisabeth Moss is perfect as Offred, and I’m elated she finally wan the long overdue Emmy (I loved her as Peggy Olsen in “Mad Men”, too).

    They have adapted another Atwood novel, in my opinion her best, “Alias Grace” , for television now too. Can’t wait for it to come to Netflix. I’m also waiting for someone to adapt the Oryx and Clark trilogy.

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