I am very late to the party but I finally took the time to read Handmaid’s Tale in February and then my mom and I binge-watched the whole Hulu Original series season 1 over the weekend and I cannot get it out of my head!
If you haven’t read or watched: SPOILER ALERT (sorry siblings, I promise to save a lot of conversation for our book club conversation!)
It is such an interesting premise. While there are still gaping holes in the back-story, such as what happened to contaminate the world, I didn’t find it that hard to believe. I consider myself to typically be an optimist and I believe most people are good (and now I am singing the Luke Bryan song in my head…), however I also believe that fear and uncertainty can cause humans to look for answers in the wrong places and to justify events that should never be justified. In today’s world I listen and read explanations for acts and decisions that to me go against basic human decency and compassion. Everyone is being categorized and labeled in a way not dissimilar to the show. Watching how the episodes played out, how some humans accepted their fate, others ended it, and still others fought back, gave me hope that there will always be resistance to the unjust.
My mom and I talked about the storyline when she was in town and she felt that it was unrealistic, that it could never happen in our world today. That women will never be treated the way they are in Handmaid’s Tale. But I think the show did a good job showing how it can be a slow process. That some men at first didn’t want their wives to lose their independence and free-will, however power is addictive. Once a man (or woman) tastes what it is like to be in control and revered, they will start to abuse that power. We see that all the time in today’s world. People you thought would never succumb to fame and fortune completely changing their personalities and standard of ethics.
So unfortunately, I think this could happen. I think a catastrophic event could send our world into a tizzy. A search for power and order. If the wrong group gained power first, or provided the first solution, I think our normal could be very different.
I hope I am wrong. Better yet, I hope a situation never arises where we find out who is right and who is wrong.
One extra comment, I do not mean any of my comments in a political sense. I think our current state of constant anger and blame is a societal pandemic. No one is innocent and guilt-less, myself included. But this book definitely made me think.
I am now reading Station Eleven, which is totally unrelated to Handmaid’s Tale except it follows a post-apocalyptic world. While Handmaid’s Tale didn’t follow an apocalypse, something definitely occurred to cause many women/men to not be able to reproduce. Might be a slow apocalypse but that is catastrophic. In Station Eleven there is a flu that wipes out a huge majority of the population, creating small clumps of people in a world without electricity, internet, or motorized transportation. Some of the towns have prophets where their “followers” believe that they were chosen to survive by God. And from that concept stems an allowance for violence, multiple wives, and a variety of other practices that would not be allowed in today’s world. But fear and a need for a leader gave these prophets power, not unlike the men in Handmaid’s Tale.
This line always strikes me in Luke Bryan’s Most People Are Good – “I believe if you just go by the nightly news/Your faith in all mankind would be the first thing you lose”
Ignorance isn’t bliss, it is important to be educated in current events (something I need to work a little harder at) but it is also just as important to not dwell on the bad that is highlighted by the media. People are good.
You tell me:
- Have you read/watched Handmaid’s Tale and how did you feel about it?
- What have you read lately that really made you stop and think?