What emotions would you experience if your fundamental liberties were taken away and you were obligated to do something against your will?
A rat can roam anywhere within the maze’s boundaries but cannot leave it. Margaret Atwood’s 1985 work of literature, The Handmaid’s Tale essay, portrays a dark and dismal future that many US citizens – with an emphasis on women – feel is similar to their current reality.
A TV series based on the book was launched on Hulu in April 2017. It covers the anxieties of the spectators, particularly the lead character Offred, who resides amid a disordered universe. Her feelings are varied, from fury to sorrow to remorse. She is enraged about the way she has to continue her existence.
She is deeply frustrated by her lack of privileges. The Handmaid’s Tale dramatically illustrates the issues of gender parity and feminism, the right to reproduce, and the power to express one’s opinion politically.
The show has faced criticism for the way it portrays women enduring painful experiences as a form of entertainment. While the book and TV episodes contain moments of despair and sorrow, they also offer an insight into what the world might look like.
In The Handmaid’s Tale, the book version, there is a woman called Offred who is taken and compelled to act as a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, an oppressive regime that has superseded the USA. Through flashbacks, it becomes evident that the ‘Sons of Jacob’ had assassinated the President and the legislators and declared that they assumed control for a certain period.
Demonstrations comprised mostly women, with a few men participating as well. However, the turnout was not as large as expected. People seemed to be terrified. It became clear that the military or law enforcement would shoot as soon as any protest began, and that caused all the demonstrations to cease.
Explosions occurred in mail centers and underground train stops. During their reign, women were stripped of their rights to own property and even work. The regime imposed oppressive laws restricting speech and forbidding the practice of any religion other than their own.
People were arrested, tortured, and executed for small offenses like not following orders or speaking out against the government. In addition to these human rights abuses, cultural centers were destroyed, books burned, and museums looted to erase history and culture that didn’t fit the regime’s ideals.
The introduction of Handmaids was implemented to counteract the negative population effects caused by environmental contamination and hazardous chemical spills. Handmaids were delegated to bearing kids for certain pairs, such as the Commander and his spouse, Serena Joy, who could not become parents.
The Handmaids are imbued with a strict ideology and have to abide by all rules set out for them. They must dress in red, keep their heads down, and never raise questions about their role or why they are there.
The Handmaids can’t own anything of value – like jewelry or money – nor have any freedom whatsoever; instead, the Gilead government controls everything from where they live to how much time is spent praying daily. In exchange for serving as surrogates, the handmaids receive food, shelter, and some basic necessities but ultimately endure a life of slavery that comes with it.
In addition to the handmaids’ oppression, introducing this class has resulted in further stratification among women in Gilead’s society. Women who are not chosen as handmaids still face restrictions on their behavior, such as being forbidden from wearing makeup or engaging in sexual contact outside marriage – even if it’s consensual – which only reinforces inequality between men and women within this dystopian setting.
The book culminates with a concluding chapter labeled “Historical Notes,” which occurs after the collapse of Gilead in 2195. In a talk, Professor Pieixoto discusses the importance of Offred’s life, discovered from audio tapes in Bangor, Maine.
The Handmaid’s Tale TV show follows the same storyline as the novel, but the sequence of events is depicted differently. The series commences with an introduction to Offred, whose true identity we discover by the conclusion of the initial episode is June.
Throughout the book, we never find her actual name; she is a Handmaid to Commander Fred Waterford and his spouse, Serena Joy. Across the episodes, Offred has a sequence of recollections from her life with her family before the Republic of Gilead was established and how she was instructed to be a Handmaid.
Compared to the book, we are provided greater insight into her life. It is revealed that Ofglen was attempting to escape to Canada, taking her wife and child with her, before the establishment of Gilead. Sadly, her request for a marriage license was turned down due to the regulations of the Gilead regime, which rendered the license invalid.
Ofglen still plays a role in the television series, but instead of taking her own life as she did in the novel, she remains part of the Mayday movement. Rita has a prominent part in the program. At first, she largely stays to herself, being rather curt and hostile toward Offred.
Despite everything, Rita sympathizes with her and forms a relationship with her. Additionally, Mayday is an important element of the television show.
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