Monday, June 25, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: When life meets art


The television adaptation of "The Handmaid's Tale" continues to enthrall -- and depress.  One of the things that most amazes me is how closely the TV show is reflecting current events.

Last week (season 2, episode 9, "Smart Power), the Commander & his wife paid an official visit to Canada -- and were asked to leave early by the Canadian government, when letters surfaced that made clear the human rights abuses endured by the handmaids and others oppressed by the Gilead regime.  This episode aired just after the current U.S. president left a G-7 meeting in Quebec, launched a trade war against my country, and made disparaging remarks about our prime minister.

This week (season 2 episode 10, "The Last Ceremony"), June/Offred was finally, briefly, reunited with her daughter Hannah, who was torn from her arms in the very first episode of the show as the family tried to flee Gilead to Canada. As I watched (& sobbed) as Hannah was torn from her arms again, after a brief 10-minute visit, sobbing "Mommy!"  I could not help but think of the families who are being torn apart right now, simply for seeking asylum at the U.S./Mexico border, as they flee the violence in their own countries. The trees outside the house where June meets Hannah are bare & there is snow on the ground -- meaning the episode was filmed several months ago -- but the subject matter could not be more topical.

Margaret Atwood, who wrote the book the TV series is based on, has said there is nothing in "The Handmaid's Tale" that hasn't happened somewhere in the world, at some time in history. The book was written more than 30 years ago but as the television adaptation is showing, it's sadly more relevant than ever....

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.


  1. I read your post here only minutes after watching that exact episode. Yes, I sobbed too. The parallels are extraordinary. At times I wonder if I am being melodramatic to make comparisons, then I think about the 1920s and 30s and early fascism in Europe, and about the (albeit fictional) early days of planning of Gilead, and I shudder. It's the feeling of helplessness, of powerlessness, that is so shocking to me, both when watching The Handmaid's Tale, and reading/watching the news.

  2. When I first met my husband, he was teaching Handmaid's Tale to his IB English class. Being a good girlfriend, I read it then. Then I read it again after infertility/adoption through Mel's book club. And now I have watched Season 1 in with the backdrop of our current world. Margaret Atwood's tale certainly withstands the test of time (well, 30 year anyway). It must get to some archetypal core of human behaviors, our hopes and fears.