The Story of the Handmaid fans were introduced to the world of red clocks, white hats and mermaids. The television series and novel follow one Handmaid in particular – a woman named Offred, or, as viewers eventually learn, June.
Part of what makes this series so awesome is its reference to life before dystopia. There are stories from the Bible and even references to times in the history of the United States. Here is what we know about some of the symbolism used in this original Hulu television series.
Hulu’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is based on the novel with the same title
Under his eye. The United States is very different in The Story of the Handmaid, with some women working as Maids to high quality offerings. Although the book was written by Margaret Atwood in 1985, it was thought to be about the future, with some believing it to be in the early 2000s.
Even though it was written decades before the original Hulu series, some references still make it personal today. That is not surprising The Story of the Handmaid inspired by the actual events of the Salem Witch Trials, a period associated with the demonization and murder of innocent women accused of witchcraft. (Oftentimes, these were just female homeowners.)
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Some fans of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ made links to other literary works
This novel and series also referred to other literary writings. In The Story of the Handmaid, red is seen as a fertility color, worn by the handmaids as a symbol of the menstrual cycle and childbirth.
In Scarlet letter, this one is set at Puritan times, red has a negative effect. With Hester Prynne wearing a “scarlet letter” as a sign of shame. “The Eyes of God,” like “Big Brother” in another dystopian novel 1984, which is the secret police of Gilead.
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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ only mentions one biblical story
There are also some references to Bible stories. That includes the idea of the Hand Maiden and their role in society, and where they are trained – Rachel and Leah Center (AKA The Red Center).
Inside writes, “The center tells the story of the Old Testament about Rachel and her sister Leah, whom they married Jacob. Although Leah had no problem giving birth, Rachel was unable to conceive a child. Frightened, Rachel offered her goddess Bilhah to Jacob as a ‘vessel’ through which she could bear children. Bilhah gave birth to two sons, both of whom were named after Rachel. ”
This Bible story, included in The Story of the Handmaid, serves as an inspiration to the handmaids. Without their participation, albeit impartial, Gilead would not be able to reproduce and create the next generation of citizens.
The Story of the Handmaid available for streaming on Hulu.