The new regime, the Republic of Gilead, moves quickly to consolidate its power, including overtaking all pre-existing religious groups, including traditional Christian denominations, and reorganize society along a new militarized, hierarchical model of Old Testament -inspired social and religious fanaticism among its newly created social classes. For example, women are forbidden to read, and anyone caught in homosexual acts would be hanged for "gender treachery". The story is told in the first person by a woman called Offred. The character is one of a class of women with healthy reproductive systems, in an era of declining birth rates owing to increasing infertility.
Plot[ edit ] In the near future, fertility rates collapse as a result of sexually transmitted diseases and environmental pollution. Alongside the Handmaids, much of society is now grouped into classes that dictate their freedoms and duties.
Women are divided into a small range of social categories, each one signified by a plain dress in a specific color: Handmaids wear red, Marthas who are housekeepers and cooks, named after the biblical figure wear green, and Wives who are expected to run their households wear blue and turquoise.
Econowives, the lower-class women who still have minimal agency, are a sort of mixture of all these categories, and they wear gray a departure from the book in which Econowives wear clothing striped with the aforementioned colors. Women prisoners are called Unwomen and are worked to death clearing toxic waste in the Colonies.
Another class of women, Aunts who train and oversee the Handmaidswear brown. Additionally, the Eyes are a secret police watching over the general populace for signs of rebellion, Hunters track down people attempting to flee the country, and Jezebels are prostitutes in secret brothels catering to the elite ruling class.
Offred is subject to strict rules and constant scrutiny; an improper word or deed on her part can lead to brutal punishment. Offred, who is named after her male master "Of Fred" like all Handmaids, was married and had a daughter, a job, a bank account, and her own name and identity in the "time before", but all she can safely do now is follow the rules of Gilead in hopes that she can someday live free again and be reunited with her daughter.
The Waterfords, key players in the rise of Gilead, have their own conflicts with the realities of the society they have helped create. He wishes to have more contact with June outside of what is lawful between a Handmaid and her master, and starts inviting her to play nightly games of Scrabble.
She appears to have accepted her new role in a society that she helped create. She is poised and deeply religious, but capable of great cruelty and is often callous to June. She is desperate to become a mother. Although June is initially wary of her, it is revealed Ofglen is not as pious as she seems, and the two become friends.
Ofglen had a wife and son, and was a university lecturer in cellular biology. Being homosexual is punishable by death in Gilead, and most university professors are sent to labour camps, but Ofglen was spared and made a Handmaid, due to her fertility. She is later captured and cruelly punished for her relationship with a Martha, and is sent to another household where she becomes "Ofsteven".
She is involved with a resistance movement called "Mayday". She becomes mentally unstable due to her treatment and often behaves in temperamental or childlike ways.
Janine is later reassigned and becomes "Ofdaniel".
She was temporarily assigned to the Colonies until a bombing at the new Rachel and Leah Center. Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia, a woman in charge of overseeing the Handmaids in their sexual reeducation and duties.
She is brutal and subjects insubordinate Handmaids to harsh physical punishment, but she also cares for her charges and believes deeply in the Gileadean mission and doctrine.
She appears to have a soft spot for Janine, and even goes so far as to address her by her given name on occasion. Because he and June began their relationship before his divorce from his first wife, their union is considered invalid in the new society.
June is considered an adulteress and their daughter, Hannah, is considered illegitimate. Initially, June believes he has been killed, but it is later revealed Luke managed to escape to Canada.
June and Nick develop an intimate relationship and she eventually discovers that he is an Eye, a spy for Gilead. She is already at the Red Center when June enters Handmaid training but escapes before being assigned to a home. She is recaptured and becomes "Ruby", a Jezebel.
She seems to have given up hope of ever being free, but on meeting June again regains the conviction to escape. Amanda Brugel as Rita, a Martha at the Waterford home. She had a son who died fighting in the civil war when he was 19 years old.
She initially follows the rules and does not wish to upset the status quo, but this is because she believes her life as a Handmaid is better than the difficult, impoverished life she led prior to Gilead, rather than out of religious piety.
She is frank and chatty, and often trades gossip and news with June. She is later renamed Agnes.
Erin Way as Erin, a young, apparently mute, woman who was being trained to become a Handmaid but managed to escape to Canada. She has an arrangement with Nick whereby she trades illegal alcohol and other contraband for drugs, which the Jezebels use. She has a casual sexual relationship with him and is aware that he is an Eye.
Marisa Tomei as Mrs.
Oprah Winfrey uncredited as Newsreader season 2 on a car radio.27 rows · For Season One, see The Handmaid's Tale (TV series). “Don't let the bastards grind you . A deep-sea submersible filled with an international research crew lies disabled at the bottom of the Pacific after having been attacked by a massive shark previously thought to be extinct.
narrator · Offred, a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead point of view · The Handmaid’s Tale is told from Offred’s point of view. She tells the story in the immediate present tense but frequently shifts to past tense for flashbacks to life before Gilead and to her time in the Red Center.
The Republic of Gilead. The Handmaid's Tale takes place in a city in what used to be in the United States, now called the Republic of Gilead. In this alternative future state, the democratic government has been overthrown and replaced by a totalitarian one.
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read/5(K).
The Handmaid's Tale is a dystopian novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, originally published in It is set in a near-future New England, in a totalitarian state resembling a theonomy, which has overthrown the United States government.
The novel focuses on the journey of the handmaid Offred. Her name derives from the possessive form "of Fred"; handmaids are forbidden to use their.