“The Handmaid’s Tale,” Margaret Atwood, and the Modern World

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Canadian writer Margaret Atwood speaks during an interview at a hotel in Havana, Cuba, February 8, 2017. Picture taken on February 8, 2017. Credit: REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini.

Reuters Canada recently reported on the modern world and “The Handmaid’s Tale” including an interview with acclaimed Canadian author Margaret Atwood.

Atwood said she did not have much “creative control over the latest adaptation of her dystopian novel, but she was “clear what she didn’t want.” This was that “That they not make a sort of soft porn film called ‘Maidens in Leather’ or something, which has always been a temptation to certain kinds of filmmakers.” Her novel was a near-future dystopia with the premise of a totalitarian state. In an additional premise, the fertile women are made sexual servants for the repopulation of the world. Women have no money, no literacy, and are forced to wear “modest” clothing with pervasive spying on every citizen, by other citizens too.

The novel was published in 1985 with subsequent republications. On April 26, Hulu will be premiering a television miniseries of it. Atwood is now 77.  Her novel is not purely speculative fiction but based on real events in slices of human history, “…from Puritan society to environmental pollution, infertility, the fight for women’s rights, the Cold War, book burnings and slavery.”

“The Handmaid’s Tale” seemed remarkable and even “preposterous” at the time to Atwood. However, she said, “When politically inclined people say they want to do such and such, I always believe them, so why be surprised? Then the 2016 U.S. election happened and all this became much more immediate.”

Atwood is known as one of the foremost feminist authors in the world today. She considers women’s rights and civil rights “inextricably linked.” She sees women in the current era – the last 20 years – as complacent.

“People have forgotten that civil rights themselves had to be hard-fought for and have to be fought to maintain because someone is going to take them away from you if they get the chance… I think whole generations came along who didn’t have to fight for those things, and weren’t too worried,” she said.

When asked about society in the next 20 years and its possible ailments, she said, “That’s going to be your problem, because I’m going to be dead.”

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About Scott Jacobsen 318 Articles
Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere.

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