After a Lifetime, We Finally Have a Sequel

Brianna Caldwell '22, Staff Writer

Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, has managed to remain applicable and relevant in today’s world despite its late publication in 1985. After being made into a Hulu adaptation and gaining popularity, the story became a cautionary tale of what could happen if women’s rights aren’t protected.

 

For those who haven’t read the book or seen the show, the novel takes place in a futuristic United States, retitled “Gilead,” that suffers the effects of years of toxic waste. This results in the majority of women in Gilead being infertile, and the patriarchal government using the women who are able to bare children as vessels to try and repopulate Gilead. These women are called the Handmaids, and the story is told through one such servant who is branded the name Offred. Offred’s story is a recollection of her duties as a Handmaid as well as memories from her past life: her daughter and husband, friends, and freedom.

 

The Handmaid’s Tale presents issues that have started conversations about women’s rights, such as abortion laws and topics like rape and victim blaming. Offred’s story has even inspired protesters to wear red Handmaid cloaks at events such as several women’s marches as well as court trials in recent years.

 

 Now, after 35 years, Atwood is finally revisiting Offred’s tale in The Testaments. This tale is set 15 years after the cliffhanger in book one, and is told through the points of view of three different women. Readers are looking forward to discover how the events of the last few years have affected the plot, and if Offred⁠ — or any of the Handmaids ⁠— will have a happy ending.

 

If you haven’t read The Handmaid’s Tale or have only seen the television show, I strongly recommend the book. Atwood does an excellent job of using past events to create a futuristic dystopia that is frighteningly realistic. It is a story of how every woman’s best interest is to protect her rights, and of how even the smallest of victories do matter.

 

Remember, Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.