Author Margaret Atwood offers ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ essay help on Twitter

TORONTO — A social media user who turned to Twitter for help in writing an essay on The Handmaid’s Tale has received invaluable insight — from none other than author Margaret Atwood herself.

A Twitter user identified online as Momchil Gavrilov tweeted at the Canlit giant early Thursday morning with the plea: “My crazy English teacher is making us write essays on #TheHandmaidsTale where we are supposed to answer why @MargaretAtwood put the theme of power and control in the book,” they write from an account with the handle @GavrilovMomchil.

“We do not have telepathy with @MargaretAtwood so I guess twitter is a close second… Helpppp!!!??”

Atwood responded hours later from her verified account with a quick lesson on the major themes of her 1985 dystopian novel, set in a world in which women are property of the state.

“Because it’s in the world,” Atwood says in a tweet posted at about 5 a.m. ET Thursday.

“It’s not just women who are controlled in the book. It’s everyone except those at the top. Gilead is a theocratic totalitarianism, not simply a men-have-power women-do-not world. Lower-status men are told when and who (to) marry, eg.”

The detailed response delighted online onlookers, who had retweeted the exchange more than 550 times and gave it almost 3,000 “likes” within five hours.

At least one other literature fan applauded the initiative.

“I used to teach high school. I’d have totally given points for proven communication with the author. This is not to say that everyone should bother poor @MargaretAtwood with all of their questions. Oh, dear,” tweeted Jess Faraday, with the handle @jessfaraday.

Atwood is a prolific Twitter user who has not been shy about using social media to weigh in on social issues, promote her work and favourite causes, or interact with fans.

She took an extra moment between retweeting comments about U.S. President Donald Trump and a CNN reporter to defend the teacher’s assignment as a worthy endeavour.

“Nor does that English teacher sound so crazy. Just sayin’. Though it might be the admiring use of crazy, as in ‘Crazy, man!’” adds Atwood in a subsequent tweet.

Attempts to reach the Twitter user who made the plea were unsuccessful.

Just Posted

School bus crash in Edmonton sends 12 to hospital, 2 with broken bones

EDMONTON — Twelve people, including 11 children, were taken to hospital Thursday… Continue reading

Life after RDC includes Estonian music concert for two former college music instructors

Karen Gustafson and Dale Wheeler will perform June 4 at Burman University

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

HIGH LEVEL, Alta. — A fire-threatened town in northern Alberta says a… Continue reading

Crime prevention barbecue on Friday in Innisfail

Barbecue runs 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Central Alberta Co-op parking lot

Dogs and drugs don’t mix: Red Deer business wants to leave downtown after 18 years

One business owner is done with downtown Red Deer after 18 years.… Continue reading

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

North Vancouver RCMP seek skier whose pole caused brain injury to B.C. teen

VANCOUVER — A North Vancouver family is joining with RCMP to urge… Continue reading

Canadian ‘Aladdin’ star eyes diverse career championing homegrown talent

TORONTO — Canadian “Aladdin” star Mena Massoud says his wild carpet ride… Continue reading

Supreme Court will tuck into UberEats case about drivers’ benefit rights

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada will help decide whether a… Continue reading

Speech from the throne: Read the entire text outlining UCP priorities

The following is the speech from the throne, read Wednesday in the… Continue reading

Canada’s Rebecca Marino drops second-round French Open qualifying match

PARIS — Canada’s Rebecca Marino fell just short in a second-round qualifying… Continue reading

Acclaimed writer Casey Plett wins $60K First Novel Award for ‘Little Fish’

TORONTO — Casey Plett has won the Amazon Canada First Novel Award… Continue reading

Nik Wallenda and sister plan highwire walk over Times Square

NEW YORK — For his next trick, daredevil Nik Wallenda plans to… Continue reading

Most Read