After nearly three decades, fans have finally been given answers to the dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale. Written by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, The Testaments is the long-awaited sequel to the best-selling novel that has now been popularized as an award-winning Hulu original series by the same name.
Courtesy: The Guardian
Published back in 1985, The Handmaid’s Tale focuses on a totalitarian society that is ruled by religious extremists who focus on the separation and domineering place between men and women after a reproduction crisis causes populations to drop. The novel takes place in a fictional town called Gilead, a few years after the new nation has taken over. It follows a young woman, Offred, who is telling her story of being a handmaid, specifically what it entailed and how she skirts far too close to a rebellious movement. By the end of the first novel, readers are left with so many questions that have been left unanswered, until just a few weeks ago with the release of the sequel.
Courtesy: Twitter (@MargaretAtwood)
Margaret Atwood wrote The Handmaid’s Tale with key ideas of feminism in the very real possibility of a society that takes a commanding hand on how a woman’s body is controlled. She discusses how a woman can be seen as lesser, not even entirely human or at least without a means to have a say on what others do to her well-being. Her novel sparked a movement as well as a frightening conversation about the authority that could be placed on women’s bodies.
Reproductive rights are a very heated topic in recent months especially and it seems fitting that another installation of Gilead would come to light. Atwood’s dystopia of women being nothing more than reproductive vessels for powerful men that work for Gilead’s government and their ‘barren’ wives seems extreme but she does not weigh it to be a mere fantasy that she has written out.
Hulu’s adaptation is not a storytelling method that Atwood allows to stand without her and she makes way as part of the directing team. The Hulu writers work with Atwood to accurately portray how the show should be relayed to audiences. The Testaments connects both the liberties that the show makes, putting them into the cannon, writing forth a future.
The Handmaid’s Tale, written in 1985, seemed odd for Hulu to pick up as an original title for production back in 2016, almost 30 years later. Bringing the handmaid’s story into pop culture lead to a resurgence of questions. Was the show true to the novel? How real was Offred’s reality? What happens to Gilead? Audiences wanted to know if the conditions of Gilead truly ended if Offred ended up safe or if she ever got to find her daughter again. Atwood begins The Testaments with three characters and their perspectives, one of which being Offred’s daughter Agnes. Lydia, Nicole and Agnes are the three women who tell their stories of Gilead with the different ways that they all set forth to shape the world that they live in.
Whether someone is an avid reader or strictly sticks to watching it all play out in the series, fans all around are excited about getting to know that the future does lie in wait for Gilead and thankfully neither stray from Margaret Atwood’s original vision.