Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale is an adaptation of the Margaret Atwood book by the same name. The source material is now 32 years old but never has it felt so relevant. With the shit stain occupying the oval office, plans to defund Planned Parenthood, the denial regarding global warming and Americans running across the Canadian border for safety and the chance at a better life, it's hard not to feel as though this is more than a simply dystopian story with elements of the world we now live in and instead a chilling foreshadowing of what could be.
It's fitting that the first episode entitled Offred, is based on our protagonist. We know that Offred's real name is June, though it's a name that she is forbidden to go by now. Women take on the name of the commander of their household and therefore the name Offred quite literally means of Fred. Offred is not a person and she does not have feelings. Offred has one job and that is to bare children for the new regime while being as modest and invisible as possible.
June lives in what was once the U.S. which has now, over run by Christian fanaticism, is called Gilead. We follow June as she, her husband Luke and their daughter Hannah, try to escape into Canada, only to be caught. Luke is murdered and June and her daughter are seperated. Thus begins Offred and the end of June. We follow as Offred goes about her daily tasks of getting the shopping done for the household, accompanied by Ofglen, whom Offred believes to be a pious spy. Offred is all to aware that she, as a handmaiden is always being watched. They (read: the government) look for subversiveness and they look for any attempt to escape. Offred already knows that with so much already stacked against her, the only real escape is death and the powers that be, know that as well.
Offred's downcast eyes are always obsequious because she has learned through her time in a re-education camp that punishment is swift and merciless. She's learned that if a woman is raped, she's responsible for it. Offred has learned from the Aunts, women dressed in brown who responsible for the indoctrination of the handmaids, that in the old society (read: U.S.A.), pollution was poisoning everything. When the birthrate started to decline, the women were so stubborn and unfeminine that they kept taking birth control and having abortions. Women like Offred are supposedly blessed because they have a chance to redeem themselves and erase their former slutty ways through strict dedication to God and fulfilling a woman's true purpose in life - giving birth to children for their commanders. Though the Aunts have power over the soon to be Handmaids, they speak in envy of their lot in life.