American Writers, Supplement XIII by Leonard Unger, Jay Parini

By Leonard Unger, Jay Parini

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Because The Handmaid’s Tale is set in the United States and based on United States history, the novel remains increasingly important in the country. The Handmaid’s Tale is the story of Offred, a woman at the center of her state’s oppression. In early twenty-first century United States, pollution and nuclear accidents have left many women infertile. A religious right group has orchestrated a coup and gained control of the government, renamed the Republic of Gilead. Women are stripped of jobs and financial independence and forced into categories.

Abbey’s Road. New York: Dutton, 1979. Down the River. Illustrated by the author. New York: Dutton, 1982. Beyond the Wall: Essays from the Outside. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1984. One Life at a Time, Please. New York: Henry Holt, 1988. ”) A Voice Crying in the Wilderness (Vox Clamantis in Deserto): Notes from a Secret Journal. Illustrations by Andrew Rush. New York: St. Martin’s, 1990. Confessions of a Barbarian: Selections from the Journals of Edward Abbey, 1951–1989. Illustrations by the author.

When the time came, Loeffler, loving and reliable, bravely disconnected Abbey from the hospital’s life-support system and brought him home. Two days later, on March 14, 1989, Abbey died in the care and company of family and friends, who then buried him in a secret site deep in the desert he loved. EDWARD ABBEY / 17 In a tribute included in the 1990 reprint edition of Abbey’s Black Sun, the author Charles Bowden, a friend of Abbey’s and himself a champion of the desert, writes: Of course, what stopped people like myself in their tracks was not simply his style, it was his mind.

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