Written in 1985 by Margrett Atwood, A Handmaids Tale is speculative dystopian fiction. Set in a post-civil war United States, the novel explores the fictional theocracy of Gilead. The details that would send shockwaves each time one reads it, even after three decades of its release speaks of the intricacies that it shares and the relevance it holds.
Offred the protagonist of the tale, is the epitome of strength. Having faced the untoward incidents a woman could have faced in her prime age, Offred is a victim and an epitome of survival. The Republic of Gilead is where Offred and many other Handmaids like her face sexual slavery and restrictions. Deprived of social contacts and education they lead their lives for the government officials, serving them forced into sexual captivity becoming ‘handmaids’ to bear children for the leaders as there is widespread infertility.
The novel adapted into a movie and a web series is still creating a buzz around with the release of the graphic novel adaptation of the book by artist Renée Nault. This version of the novel would give it more acceptance among young adults and helps in sensitizing about women’s rights which are gaining momentum all over the world. Nault conveys the shades of Gilead through the handmaids’ life in this graphical representation. The life there is represented through vivid colours, the red of the Handmaids, the blue of the Wives, the dull green of the Marthas and the looming Gileadean Eye.
A classic in its own right, The Handmaids Tale speaks of the act of rebellion and how memories help people survive the worst of times.