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Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” Analysis

Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, published in 1985, explores the concept of a dystopian totalitarian Christian society with a plummeting birth rate, this society is now known as the Republic of Gilead, which overthrows the United States government at some point in the near future. The Handmaid’s Tale is also an American dystopian drama Hulu television series created by Bruce Miller, based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood. In this essay I will point out the important similarities and differences between the two forms of media. Mainly concerning the character Luke, (June’s husband), while referencing the characters Hannah (June and Luke’s child) and Mora (June’s closet companion) for similar comparisons and differences. Moreover, explaining why the differences between those characters are there.

Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” Analysis

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To start, I would like to compare and contrast the character Luke, from the novel to the television series. In the novel the first glimpses of romantic love one notes is the flashbacks and descriptions of Offred’s memories of Luke, her husband from whom she has been separated from. Luke is describe as Offred’s pre-Gilead love affair turned husband and father of her daughter. He was previously married and had a long affair with Offred before divorcing his first wife, Annie. All of this still holds true from the novel to the television series. Though what differs the show from the book about Luke, is his characters physical appearance in the show verses the book. In Miller’s depiction of The Handmaid’s Tale, our first look at Luke as well as their daughter Hannah is during the series pilot episode, Luke is a brown eyed, blacked haired, African American male. This change also holds true to Hannah (the Handmaids Tale Ep. 1). In the book written by Atwoods Luke is a Caucasian male. This was confirmed in the book, during chapter 14 of the novel. In this chapter we are told non-white people were removed from society and resettled in ‘the National Homelands.’ (The Handmaids Tale, chapter 14) But the television series differs and is more diverse. Staring non-white actors in character roles that are key to the story including June’s husband Luke (O.T. Fagbenle), Moira (Samira Wiley), Nick (Max Minghella), and Rita (Amanda Brugel), who in some ways also plays Cora, who is in the book but not on the show (Troung, Cosmopolitan). An all Caucasian character strip was done in the novel to depict the rulers of Gilead as racists who believe in apartheid, a political system that believes in the separation of races (Nusbaum, the New Yorker). This is something that can’t be done on screen because of the century we live in and the viewer numbers the show wishes to have.

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As Emily Nussbaum recently wrote in The New Yorker, Hulu’s Gilead “is unconvincingly color-blind, as if race had never existed.” (Nusbaum, the New Yorker) To further explain this obvious need for improvement, Miller said the change felt necessary in this day and age. “That was a very big discussion with Margaret about what the difference was between reading the words, ‘There are no people of color in this world’ and seeing an all-white world on your television, which has a very different impact,” Miller ends the discussion of his necessary changes with “What’s the difference between making a TV show about racists and making a racist TV show where you don’t hire any actors of color?” (Nusbaum, the New Yorker).

In another interview with TIME, actress Elisabeth Moss who plays Offred/June’s character further explains the changes made as them “wanting the show to be very relatable. We wanted people to see themselves in it. If you’re going to do that, you have to show all types of people. You have to reflect current society.” (Dockterman, Time). This means the change of physical character description was done to gain an audience of all backgrounds, this involves being able to relate to the characters you see on screen, and seeing yourself. The character Luke along with a few others, show race is not a primary concern in the series, even though the book differs describing Gilead as a society without people of color. The Republic even calls African-Americans the “children of Ham” and so they have been relocated to the Midwest (The Handmaids Tale, chapter 14).

In addition to Luke’s racial chances, Luke as well as his and June’s daughter are alive. In the novel it isn’t made aware wither or not Luke is alive or dead. Offred and the readers also do not know if their daughter is alive. But in the television series episode 7 is when the viewers find out that Luke is alive. This episode is the explanation of what happened to Luke after he was separated from June and Hannah. We see Luke is alive and living in Canada where he is trying to deal with life without his family, while searching for them at the same time. June is able to make contact with him by way of the Mexican ambassador’s assistant. In a stunning episode seven, it’s revealed that Luke makes it to Canada after being picked up by a group of survivors. In the novel Luke exists only in the Offred’s memories and past. She struggles over whether to try to remember him or let him go. We never find out what happened to Luke, and the ‘Historical Notes’ section of the novel says that it’s unlikely that he survived. The story of why they tried to flee to Canada is the same along with their capture, then where their daughter is sent, is also the same. But what happens to Luke is different and Offred seeing Hannah again is also different. For the character Hannah in the novel she exists but the character name doesn’t. She was born before the makings of The Republic of Gilead and was separated from her parents after the makings of the regime. In the book after trying to escape to Canada during the power change in America and being captured, their daughter is taken away from her and shipped off to new parents, though Offred doesn’t know where exactly she is being taken. The readers never find out where she is, but can conclude that she is alive because Serena Joy offers information about their daughter if she gets pregnant by Nick the Gardner. We see Hannah alive for the first time since the split in episode 12 of the television series. In the season finale, Serena Joy takes Offred for a long drive to an undisclosed location, which turns out to be where Hannah has been living this whole time. Offred watches from a nearby vehicle, locked and hidden, as Serena talks to Hannah. This was Offreds prize for becoming pregnant with either Nicks or the Commanders baby.

In conclusion, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, published in 1985 and The Handmaid’s Tale is also a American dystopian drama Hulu television series created by Bruce Miller, are for the most part are the same. Both still carrying the concept of a dystopian totalitarian Christian society with a plummeting birth rate and under the power of a new leader called the Republic of Gilead. But the series isn’t a 100% like the book. The television series has changes in character fate, descriptions, and stories compared to the novel so far and we aren’t even at the end of the series. In this essay I pointed out the important similarities and differences between those two forms of media. Mainly concerning the character Luke, (June’s husband), while referencing the characters Hannah (June and Luke’s child) and Mora (June’s closet companion) for similar comparisons and differences. Moreover, explaining why the differences between those characters where there.

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Margaret Atwood’s "The Handmaid’s Tale" Analysis
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Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, published in 1985, explores the concept of a dystopian totalitarian Christian society with a plummeting birth rate, this society is now known as the Republic of Gilead, which overthrows the United States government at some point in the near future. The Handmaid's Tale is also an American dystopian drama Hulu television series created by Bruce Miller, based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood. In this essay I will point out the importan
2021-10-15 04:36:26
Margaret Atwood’s
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