In the decade of the 80 a Canadian author set out to write a work of speculative fiction, looking at her neighboring country, USAand his growing religious right-wing policies. That author was Margaret Atwood and what I observed was the administration of ronald reagan and the different religious groups such as the Christian Coalition Y Moral Majority, among others. His interest was focused on seeing what those groups, that political and ideological current, thought about the rise to power by women.
From that observation process, together with some other details, such as the incorporation of elements from the dictatorships that were also intensifying at the time Latin Americawas born The Handmaid’s Talea novel first published in 1985 and that it is difficult to enclose in a single category: dystopia? feminist science fiction? speculative fiction? A bit of everything, but without a doubt a work that, many years later, would bear much fruit for its author.
As we said, The Handmaid’s Talethe novel, was first published in 1985. History presents us with USA in which the government has been overthrown by a religious extreme right-wing group, the sons of jacobwho have seized power and changed the rules of the game for everyone, especially womenwho begin to be divided into categories according to the function they can fulfill.
On the one hand, we will have the wives of the great leaders, untouchable women, but who still lack many rights, such as meddling in politics or even reading. On the other, the maidsfertile women in a world where the birth rate has dropped considerably and who are sent to the houses of the powerful so that they, in a ritualized rape, impregnate them and then keep their children.
There are also the martensthe women in charge of housework, and the auntswomen put at the service of indoctrinating other women, the maidsto educate them for their service and control them when they rebel.
The common denominator among all these women, although some have it visibly worse than others, is that their status is immovable and that the rights they once had in the previous world have been completely erased.. Some became mere objects that accompany their husbands, others, in incubators.
Yes ok The Handmaid’s Taleas a novel, was always a symbol used by feminist movements to demand women’s rights, it was not until 2017 when Hulu launched the original series based on the novel that The Handmaid’s Tale became a worldwide hit. The series not only won multiple awards (including the Emmy for Best Drama Series, as well as the golden-globe for Best Series and for Best Actress in the two awards for its protagonist, Elizabeth Moss), but has reached five seasons so far (the fifth is expected to premiere in September of this year).
As if this were not enough, the success of the series revived the fervor for the novel and forced the hand of its author, Margaret Atwoodfor, more than 30 years, sitting down to write a sequel called the wills and was published in 2019. In the wills, Atwood recounts the fall of that new nation from the point of view of three characters: Aunt Lydia and two young men, a servant within the totalitarian regime he became USAand another maid outside, in Canada.
Of course, the wills it was also a publishing success. And, also of course, television set its sights on this new novel by Atwood. In the 2021, Huluthe same platform responsible for The Handmaid’s Taleit was proposed to make a sequel series based on this continuation written so many years later. Although there has been no news about it yet, it will be interesting to see how they carry out this project since the book shows us the world of The Handmaid’s Tale, fifteen years later.
The Handmaid’s Tale is the perfect example of how powerful adaptations can be. Although the novel Margaret Atwood It was always sensational and a symbol of freedom for women, it was not until the arrival of the story on television and its mass use that the author was encouraged to write a sequel. It is to television, to the series, to whom we owe the wills.