The Testaments Margaret Atwood PDF

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1. Statue: The Ardua Hall Holograph

Only dead people are allowed to have statues, but I have been given one while still alive. Already I am petrified.

This statue was a small token of appreciation for my many contributions, said the citation, which was read out by Aunt Vidala. She’d been assigned the task by our superiors and was far from appreciative.

I thanked her with as much modesty as I could summon, then pulled the rope that released the cloth drape shrouding me; it billowed to the ground, and there I stood.

We don’t do cheering here at Ardua Hall, but there was some discreet clapping. I inclined my head in a nod.

My statue is larger than life, as statues tend to be, and shows me as younger, slimmer, and in better shape than I’ve been for some time.

I am standing straight, shoulders back, my lips curved into a firm but benevolent smile. My eyes are fixed on some cosmic point of reference understood to represent my idealism, my unflinching commitment to duty, my determination to move forward despite all obstacles.

Not that anything in the sky would be visible to my statue, placed as it is in a morose cluster of trees and shrubs beside the foot path running in front of Ardua Hall. We Aunts must not be too presumptuous, even in stone.

Clutching my left hand is a girl of seven or eight, gazing up at me with trusting eyes. My right-hand rests on the head of a woman crouched at my side, her hair veiled, her eyes upturned in an

2. Precious Flower: Transcript of Witness Testimony

You have asked me to tell you what it was like for me when I was growing up within Gilead. You say it will be helpful, and I do wish to be helpful.

I imagine you expect nothing but horrors, but the reality is that many children were loved and cherished, in Gilead as elsewhere, and many adults were kind though fallible, in Gilead as elsewhere.

I hope you will remember, too, that we all have some nostalgia for whatever kindness we have known as children, however bizarre the conditions of that childhood may seem to others.

I agree with you that Gilead ought to fade away-there is too much of wrong in it, too much that is false, and too much that is surely contrary to what God intended–but you must permit me some space to mourn the good that will be lost.

At our school, pink was for spring and summer, plum was for fall and winter, and white was for special days: Sundays and celebrations.

Arms covered, hair covered, skirts down to the knee before you were five and no more than two inches above the ankle after that because the urges of men were terrible things and those urges needed to be curbed.

The man’s eyes that were always roaming here and there like the eyes of tigers, those searchlight eyes needed to be shielded from the alluring and indeed blinding power of us-of our shapely or skinny or fat legs, of our graceful or knobbly or sausage arms, of our peachy or blotchy skins, of our entwining curls of shining hair or our coarse unruly pelts or our straw-like wispy braids, it did not matter.

Whatever our shapes and features, we were snares and enticements despite ourselves, we were the innocent and blameless causes that through our very nature could make men drunk with lust, so that they’d stagger and lurch and topple over the verge-The verge of what?

we wondered. Was it like a cliff?-and go plunging down in flames, like snowballs made of burning sulfur hurled by the angry hand of God.

We were custodians of an invaluable treasure that existed, unseen, inside us; we were precious flowers that had to be kept safely inside glass houses,

or else we would be ambushed and our petals would be torn off and our treasure would be stolen and we would be ripped apart and trampled by the ravenous men who might lurk around any corner, out there in the wide sharp-edged sin-ridden world.

That was the kind of thing runny-nosed Aunt Vidala would tell us at school while we were doing petit-point embroidery for handkerchiefs and footstools and framed pictures: flowers in a vase, fruit in a bowl were the favored patterns.

But Aunt Estée, the teacher we liked the best, would say Aunt Vidala was overdoing it and there was no point in frightening us out of our wits since to instill such an aversion might have a negative influence on the happiness of our future married lives.

AuthorMargaret Atwood
Language English
No. of Pages12
PDF Size2 MB
CategoryNovel
Source/Creditscdn.waterstones.com

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