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A Handmaid's Tale

A Handmaid's Tale

A Handmaid's Tale

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Since 1984, Margaret Atwood's dystopian story of a society that forces women into becoming high-class handmaids has seen countless performances and adaptations, each bringing a new perspective. It is now a Hulu TV series that portrays female oppression set in the near future.

Handmaid

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The Handmaid's Tale is an American dystopian television series created by Bruce Miller, based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Canadian author Margaret Atwood. The series was ordered by the streaming service Hulu as a straight-to-series order of 10 episodes, for which production began in late 2016. The plot features a dystopia following a Second American Civil War wherein a totalitarian society subjects fertile women, called "Handmaids", to child-bearing slavery. World infertility has led to the enslavement of fertile women in Gilead determined by the new regime to be "fallen women", citing an extremist interpretation of the Biblical account of Bilhah; these women often include those who have entered multiple marriages (termed "adulteresses", as divorce is not recognised under Gileadian law), single or unmarried mothers, lesbians (homosexuals being termed "gender traitors"), non-Christians, adherents of Christian denominations other than the "Sons of Jacob", political dissidents, and academics. These women, called Handmaids, are assigned to the homes of the ruling elite, where they must submit to ritualized rape (referred to as "the ceremony") by their male masters ("Commanders") in the presence of their wives, to be impregnated and bear children for them.

Along with the Handmaids, much of society is now grouped into classes that dictate their freedoms and duties. Women are divided into a small range of social categories, each one signified by a plain dress in a specific color. Handmaids wear long red dresses, heavy brown boots and white coifs, with a larger white coif (known as "wings") to be worn outside, concealing them from public view and restricting their vision. June Osborne, renamed Offred, is the Handmaid assigned to the home of the Gileadan Commander Fred Waterford and his wife Serena Joy. The Waterfords, key players in the formation and rise of Gilead, struggle with the realities of the society they helped create. During "the time before", June was married to Luke and had a daughter, Hannah. At the beginning of the story, while attempting to flee Gilead with her husband and daughter, June was captured and forced to become a Handmaid because of the adultery she and her husband committed. June's daughter was taken and given to an upper-class family to raise, and her husband escaped into Canada. Much of the plot revolves around June's desire to be reunited with her husband and daughter and the internal evolution of her strength to its somewhat darker version. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

Tale

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The novel explores themes of subjugated women in a patriarchal society, loss of female agency and individuality, and the various means by which they resist and attempt to gain individuality and independence. The novel's title echoes the component parts of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, which is a series of connected stories (such as "The Merchant's Tale" and "The Parson's Tale").

Fitting with her statements that The Handmaid's Tale is a work of speculative fiction, not science fiction, Atwood's novel offers a satirical view of various social, political, and religious trends of the United States in the 1980s. Her motivation for writing the novel was her belief that in the 1980s, the religious right was discussing what they would do with/to women if they took power, including the Moral Majority, Focus on the Family, the Christian Coalition and the Ronald Reagan administration. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

 

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