With all the buzz surrounding the soon to be released TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale it is nearly impossible to avoid the name Margaret Atwood. And of course, the current political climate makes the novel, originally released in 1985, seem discouragingly relevant. I’ve been thinking about the this particular dystopic novel a lot recently, in part because I decided to reread it, before the release of the show this Wednesday. Atwood is known for her feminist novels; she prefers to have them classified as speculative fiction as opposed to science fiction because her worlds are just a step away from our reality.
Atwood uses her novels as platforms for her left-wing politics, painting a picture of alternate, often dystopic realities that seem unnervingly linked to our current reality. The dystopic universe portrayed in The Handmaid’s Tale is one in which women’s rights are obliterated and replaced with an archaic cast system centered around reproduction. Atwood’s reflection upon the policies of the Reagan era and the tension around the cold war permeates the tale. Through her novels Atwood warns of alternate realities that are only a step away from our present reality. Her influence has never felt more pointed than in the new era of a US president who is supporting overt attacks on female reproductive rights.
Atwood has pointed to the importance of the timing of the release of TV adaptation, which makes parallels between our present US and the US that begets to her fictional society, Gilead. Atwood continues her political subversion and critique through her novels; most recently The Heart Goes Last released in 2015. Fun Fact: You might not have known that Margaret Atwood has been doing Cosplay since 1953.
From her mouth: “We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly.”
Check out Atwood's website here
Margaret & Elizabeth Moss (playing Offred in the Hulu adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale)