In The Handmaid’s Tale, things have changed drastically from our world. Parts of Earth are littered with toxic waste and poison produced by humans. These areas become what is known as The Colonies, while the health parts of the Earth become known as Gilead. Gilead is a totalitarian society ruled by fundamental regime that strips women of all freedom and rights, subjecting them as properties instead of humans with emotions. In all, it is a totally and utterly a disaster of a dystopian universe.
When watching the first episode of season one of this series, I am horrified by the cruelness and brutality taking place. According to Offred’s words, “So many things are forbidden now,” and in truth, it is (5:46). Handmaids, women for the purpose of creating offspring, are limited to many things, such as space, time, reading, buying, and even their names. Offred is use to be known as June, but she is not allowed to be known by their original name. A name is an identity, it sums up who one is. Giving someone a second name and forbidding he or she access to their original is the same as forcing them to become someone else. This obliteration of identity is also seen with the standard appearance of the handmaids, for they all wear a white cap and dress in red. These red robes covers their entire body and the white caps, to some extent, obstruct the face of the handmaids, like the barren wife, Serena Joy said, “I want to see as little of you as possible” (7:34). These handmaids are not seen as humans, but sex dolls with a face. It is sickening seeing the Ceremony in which the husband have to have sex with the handmaid while having the barren wife witness the whole thing. The blankness on their face and just plain torture.
Furthermore, the Red Center where handmaids are sent to to be educated about sexual servitude, is beyond words. Violence is served to all of the disobedient, such as a character known as Janine has her right eye gorge out for rebellious spirit in her eyes. Furthermore, on top of losing an eye, she is also forced to serve many men for many hours as well. However, the worse is the mental attacks that she suffers. The rest of the handmaids are forced to point and shame her for all the things she has been through, as though it is truly her fault and that she deserves it, when in truth, that is not true at all (21:56, 27:50). The world is crazy, enough to drive many people insane, and maybe it is more of a blessing to be insane than live in an insane world.
On top of that, there is an eerie similarity between this and the book 1984 by George Orwell. While 1984 has “Big Brother is watching you,” The Handmaid’s Tale has “Under His eye” (10:28). There is both surveillance and lack of privacy in both texts. There is an utmost power, control of the people with eyes and people with guns everywhere. Furthermore, both the novel and the tv series, there is an opposite and twist to many slogans and words. For example, the sexual intercourse between a handmaid and a male servant is define as “rape” and the forced sex is seen more as a divine duty. The handmaids, used as sex dolls, are known to be “good women” while the others on the run from the totalitarian rule is known as “whores” and “sluts.” It is ironic and sarcastic, sickening to the core.