Blessed be the fruit


Sarah Emily D'Agostino, A&E Editor

“The Handmaid’s Tale,” a dystopian novel written in the 1980s by Margaret Atwood, depicts a world where infertility is causing the population of the world to drop exponentially. Due to this, the most wealthy and “Christian” men are becoming commanders of what is left of the United States.
The book discusses a separation of people of color and whites, which means the book is written only from the perspective of white men and women. The perversion of religion in the novel is obvious, as the use of Marx’s communist theories are disguised as bible verses, and the distortion of the female body and beauty casts the women in a societal downfall.

At the beginning of the novel we are already past the initial over-throwing of the government and are now faced with a first-person commentary following a captive handmaid who now has to obey the rules of a misogynistic society that views women in the lowermost of forms. The handmaids themselves are fertile women who have “sinned” in their lives and are now only kept around to reproduce for the infertile wives of the commanders.
The handmaids are no more than a womb in a red dress, which leaves the main character, Offred, in a world where she has no rights, no voice and no name. Offred is merely the possessive form of her commander’s name: Fred. She is faced with a world where women are forced into a patriarchal society and the daily war the women in this culture are fighting.

Offred, who was once married and a mother in the world before this, has had her family ripped apart and is now left to live in the attack of a house that isn’t hers, with only a monthly “ceremony” of being raped by her commander to look forward to. The novel was pitched for a television show of the same name and aired for the first time in April 2017.

The television version touches on fewer aspects of race and instead creates a strong female power movement including women of all races. It reveals more aspects of the characters in the books and creates a dialogue about women escaping male power and creating an under society of women who know what is happening and making moves to change their roles.

Between the main character Offred, or her television name, June, the other handmaid’s perspectives are revealed. The fight for women to be respected and put back in the seat of equality is a wish of nearly every woman in the show.

This frightens the male characters and leads to Offred ultimately fleeing for safety. She is able to escape, though pregnant, for months until she is returned to the Hell from whence she came. The finale of the second season left the watchers wandering what was coming next as the women band together (indirectly) with an undertone of control, which they definitely shouldn’t have in this society.

The show is a Hulu original and is expected to release the third season in the first week of June of this year.  If you’re like me, you will be binging the show in one day, “under his eye.”