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Blessed be the fruit.

May the Lord open.

Offred is a handmaid. She wasn’t a handmaid all her life. Before Gilead, she had a job, a husband, a daughter, a life.

It had all started when the president was killed and the constitution was suspended so, the “Sons of Jacob” could restore “order”. The first step towards restoring this order was to kick women out of employment, forbid them from reading. Gilead aims to create a society that resembles the hierarchical model of the Old Testament. But it tore apart lots of families including Offred’s in this process.

The Handmaid’s Tale is a TV adaptation of the book by Margaret Atwood by the same name. It tells the story of a concubine Offred, and her tryst with the totalitarian, theonomic, military dictatorship that calls itself ‘The Republic of Gilead’.

Gilead has enslaved all of the fertile women and trains them to bear children for the high ranking officials. These women, are assigned homes of the elite where they go to live, participate in the ‘ceremony’ every month during their fertile days, bear children, give them over to the elite families they were assigned to and move on to the next family, taking a different name.

Our protagonist Offred belongs to Fred (Of-Fred. Get it?) a commander in Gilead. She narrates the incidents that take place during her third assignment, working for Commander Fred Waterford. Three other handmaids have been sent away to the waste lands because they were not able to bear children for Commander Waterford. Will Offred end up the same way?

Did Offred ever plan to run away? There’s so much injustice being done. Is no one resisting the Republic of Gilead? Will Offred ever find her family again?

The Handmaid’s Tale is an engrossing watch. There are strong characters, with deep pasts, no tale similar to the other.  There’s very limited (more like, zero) humour, a very dense plot with lots of revelations of the assumed near-perfect society and also, about the actual happenings in the handmaid training centers, in the homes of the elite and the plans the elite have for the handmaids. I’d rate it a 5 on 5. It’s worth all the time spent.

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