Imagine if you will. You aren’t allowed to have a job. You cannot read or be friends with anyone. You cannot read or write. Social media and mobile phones are a distant memory.
It sounds like a nightmarish place. This is Gilead where women are second class citizens.
The Handmaids Tale brings to you the story of Offred. She has one thing keeping her going, keeping her focused. Getting to her daughter who was taken from her as she was brought to Gilead.
She is a handmaid of the new order. A handmaid with one purpose – to produce children for the family of which she lives.
Gilead is a totalitarian regime that is focused on producing a better world. The better world is not for everyone.It ensures that women are second class citizens and subservient to men at all times. It ensures that women are prohibited from education, career, holding property, reading and any other form of media. In short, if you are a woman Gilead controls you.
The story is told in the first person. It allows Offred to tell her story while at the same time allowing you to be horrified at the things that she has to endure. Her name isn’t really Offred; it’s actually June. Her name was forcibly changed to reflect that of her master, Fred Waterford. She is Of- Fred. She belongs to him. Her old life seems to be slipping from her grasp but every now and then, she finds a way to bring some light back into her life.
Through the book Offred can be seen to change in her character. What starts as a quiet and reserved handmaid is shown to develop into the rebellious protagonist as the story moves on. We know that she always had issues with her mothers activism when she was younger but now, Offred is that woman. She is becoming that rebellious activist that is fighting for what is right.
The Handmaids Tale is also a TV series and is about to enter series four. As a latecomer to Gileads world, I highly recommend the book and the show.