The Handmaid's Tale, acclaimed dystopian novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, published in 1985. The book, set in New England in the near future, posits a Christian fundamentalist theocratic regime in the former United States that arose as a response to a fertility crisis.
The Handmaid's Tale is NOT based on a true story. The drama is science fiction, set in a dystopian future where a totalitarian regime has overthrown the US government and created the Republic of Gilead. But the show, based on Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel of the same name, is inspired by religious and political history.
To depict the authoritative world run by the extremely religious right in "The Handmaid's Tale," Atwood drew upon history — mainly, 17th-century Puritan theocracy in America and the political climate of the country in the early 1980s.
Major conflict The Republic of Gilead has subjugated women and reduced Handmaids like Offred to sexual slavery. Offred desires happiness and freedom, and finds herself struggling against the totalitarian restrictions of her society.
The novel's climax arrives when Offred gives in to the urge to express the part of herself which has been most repressed: her sexual desire. Her desire for Nick is doubly forbidden. Under the Gileadean regime, Offred is forbidden from touching any man apart from the Commander.
The tone of The Handmaid's Tale is dark and bleak. Within the ruthless, totalitarian state of Gilead, the characters—especially women—have lost their freedom and lead miserable lives.
The symbols used in the Handmaid's Tale are Costumes, eyes, red colour, mirror, flower, Cambridge Massachusetts, scrabbles, Harvard University and Palimpsest (mary, 1986). Costumes: In the state of Gilead, people of same social group dress alike.
Description. The Rachel and Leah Center, unofficially known as The Red Center, is a center established to house and train Handmaids. It is named after the Biblical Rachel and Leah, whose story provided inspiration for the role of Handmaids as breeders in the Republic of Gilead.
Offred is intelligent, perceptive, and kind. She possesses enough faults to make her human, but not so many that she becomes an unsympathetic figure. She also possesses a dark sense of humor—a graveyard wit that makes her descriptions of the bleak horrors of Gilead bearable, even enjoyable.
6 Atwood's own view of Offred is clear: she has described Offred as "an ordinary, more-or-less cowardly woman (rather than a heroine)" (qtd. in Cooke 276). 2 Efforts to see her as an active subversive thus fly in the face of Atwood's intent and the textual evidence.
It is evident that Offred is a heroine to a small extent, as it is clear that she act in a conventional heroine style. Instead of being brave and daring, she backs out of many rule breaking acts, such as having s*x with Nick.
For Offred, the act of telling her story becomes a rebellion against her society. Gilead seeks to silence women, but Offred speaks out, even if it is only to an imaginary reader, to Luke, or to God.
Offred is clearly smart. She is able to pick up on cues from her environment and adapt to them to ensure her own survival. When she plays Scrabble with the Commander, she lets him win once, even though she can beat him. Her ability to win at Scrabble shows that she is intelligent in an academic sense.
In Atwood's original novel, Offred's real name is never revealed; however, Volker Schlöndorff's 1990 film adaptation gave Offred the real name Kate, while the television series gave her the real name June. The women in training to be Handmaids whisper names across their beds at night.
It is here that they are able to find a heartbeat, confirming that Offred/June is still pregnant. Offred/June later goes on give birth to an adorable daughter, whom she names Holly after her mother.
In Margaret Atwood's original novel, Offred's real name is never revealed. Many eagle-eyed readers deduced that it was June based on contextual clues: Of the names the Handmaids trade in hushed tones as they lie awake at night, "June" is the only one that's never heard again once Offred is narrating.
The dystopian drama ends with two flashing images: June, with blood on her face, cradling her younger daughter; and Fred's headless body hanging above the show's familiar phrase, “Nolite te bastardes carburondorum.”
Now more than ever, the two seem to be endgame for each other. But season 4 episode 9, “Progress,” revealed Nick got remarried in Gilead, making life with June seem even farther out of reach. Margaret Atwood's 2019 sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, The Testaments, revealed much about June and her family's future.
Faced with these spiraling external and internal pressures, Gilead collapsed, and the United States was restored.
The Handmaid's Tale season 4 finale saw June Osborne kill Fred Waterford, and in doing so she effectively chose Nick Blaine over Luke Bankole.