The Handmaid’s Tale: A Story of Oppression for All Ages

Pop Culture

The Handmaid’s Tale: A Story of Oppression for All Ages

Illustration: Palak Bansal


f great literature is believed to stand the test of time, Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, is an instant classic. Written in 1985 in Berlin, a story about women in no control over their bodies and minds, rings prescient in today’s time — especially in a year that began with Donald Trump’s “grab ’em by the pussy” remark, meandered through multiple allegations of sexual harassment in Hollywood, and ended with the worldwide movement #MeToo. And now, it has a bunch of Golden Globes, including the Best Drama, to drive home the point.

Easily among the very best things on television this year, the television adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale is set in a future where fertility rates have collapsed due to environmental degradation and sexually transmitted diseases. Out of this chaos is born the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian and theocratic state that has replaced the United States of America. Straight white men rule. All coloured people have been sent off to the “Colonies”. Women are restricted to the home in a nightmare version of Biblical purity.