Hulu’s All-Too-Relevant Handmaid’s Tale

It Isn't Terrifying Because It Could Happen. It's Terrifying Because It Already Did


I'm really curious to hear from people who haven't read the novel about what they think of the new series, since I can't help but compare it to the book and the film version, which I also enjoyed.
The color-blind casting in the series is an unusual choice, and race was addressed in the book: African Americans were renamed the Children of Ham and forcibly resettled into their own colonies--presumably barren, polluted stretches of the midwest--in a nod to apartheid-era South Africa's despicable homelands movement. Jews were offered the chance to immigrate to Israel and then unceremoniously dumped into the ocean.

Along with the mass extermination of homosexuals, this is a more accurate representation of how a totalitarian theocracy in the former United States would operate with popular support since it astutely demonstrates most poweful forces in American politics: hatred, racism, and white supremacy. These are the reasons that white Americans continuously vote for RepubliKKKans against their own interests, and why our system of government is a catastrophic failure.
It was interesting to read elsewhere why the show's creative team chose to change the treatment of race in Gilead. Two main reasons were given:
(1) Modern evangelical/ fundie Christianity approaches race differently than it did in the 80's when the book was written, so it seems a more natural progression to have a society that exploits POCs rather than one that exiles or exterminates them. (Note there are black handmaids and Marthas, but no black wives.)
(2) The absence of people of color would make the world seem more surreal and far removed from our own, and they wanted to maintain a sense of immediacy: that Gilead could be right around the corner.

Another interesting change from the books...


The addition of FGM into the storyline seems in keeping with the original spirit, and I'm interested to see how Ofglen's story goes from here.

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@ 3,

The point also could be made that this society is so desperate for babies that they have no choice but to overlook the race of fertile women when selecting handmaids.

And you're right: Alexis Bledel is a revelation. She's doing the best work of her career as Ofglen. The trial, execution, and post-surgery scenes in which she conveyed her grief and rage with only her eyes and facial expressions were a gut punch that I'll never forget.
@4: That's also a salient reason. It would have been as applicable when the book was written as it is now, though.
"The White Plague", Frank Herbert is the book I notice straight males didn't like.