Blog, Writing

The Handmaid’s Tale — Inspiration


MGM Television, The Handmaid’s Tale intertitle, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons

Day 360

While I have been in Florida, I have re-watched a few episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu. There is so much I could say about this story — religion, politics, dystopia Vs. utopia, equal rights, fear, will to live, self preservation…the list goes on and on. Instead I want to talk about the power of the writing.

First of all, I know the book or the series is not everyone’s cup of tea. It is hard to watch. For me, watching it generates an emotional and almost primal response, fight or flight. I find myself wondering what kind of inner strength I have and wondering if I could survive. After watching, it takes a few minutes to leave that world and step back into reality.

“Better never means better for everyone… It always means worse, for some.” 
 Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

I enrolled in Margaret Atwood’s MasterClass months ago and completed the entire class. Today I decided to go back and revisit the classroom and remind myself of the advice and cautions she gave. The imagery spun by her words is unsettling. Her characters are fully fleshed out and the circumstances and unpredictability make this story a feast for a reader.

Her characters are not entirely good or evil. They walk that line which makes us trust no one. We find ourselves liking aspects of the characters while also fearing them. It takes a commitment from the reader to take sides and decide who to root for.

The sad part of all this is that I have never read the entire book. Having only seen the series on Hulu, I want to see all the seasons through before I read it. I checked my library today and while there are 44 digital copies available, 53 people are in the queue to read it, so the wait time is well over a month.

I might just break down and order it on Kindle. Then I want to revisit the MasterClass again. What an inspiration.