Hulu recently started airing a masterful adaptation of the 1985 novel that pinned Margaret Atwood on the world literary map. Exploring themes powerful themes like gender inequality and the objectification of women, The Handmaid’s Tale quickly gathered a cult following, Atwood becoming a powerful name in feminist circles.
Now, the titular TV series is rapidly gaining success, planting the seeds of fear in the hearts of viewers who recognize the current political situation in the character’s flashbacks.
As Theocracy Rises with Thunder, Humanity Silently Falls
In the original novel, Offred – a woman whose sole purpose in life was to procreate – decides to stand up against the recently risen theocracy. As the story unfolds, she remembers how the world turned to hell, the United States turning into a land where there is no Congress, no Constitution, no individuality – just a totalitarian Gilead where every man and woman serves a given purpose, all “broken” individuals being quietly disposed of.
During the third episode of Hulu’s adaptation, Elisabeth Moss (you may recognize her from Mad Men and The One I Love) delivers a powerful speech, talking about the country that once upon a time was called the United States, a place where she was free to drink a cup of coffee with her friends, a land where her fertile uterus was not the only thing keeping her alive.
Viewers Were More Terrified by the Reality of the Tale
As Moss’ character walks – head bowed, red cape covering her body, broad clad hiding her face – viewers are shown brief images of a country at war. For emergency purposes – and because Palpatine’s rise to power taught nothing to anybody – the Constitution was suspended, and all power was granted to the Gilead.
Nothing happened swiftly; big changes were implemented at a slow rate. At first, all women were fired from their jobs. Then, they were denied the right to handle money. Soon, they became trade objects, divided into categorized according to their physical properties.
Nothing changes instantaneously. In a gradually heating bathtub, you would be boiled to death before you knew it.
It all started with a deep mistrust in Congress and Government; it continued with a constant, impending terror threat. Then women started losing their rights, marching in vain. Sounds familiar? That’s how Atwood managed to build a masterpiece, upon a foundation of horrible truths, she started pulling up possible gruesome outcomes. And then she delivered a final, swift, masterful blow. Stay tuned to find out more as a new episode comes out weekly.
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