The Handmaid’s Tale takes place in a zealously conservative and religious regime where powerful men called commanders control everything: women, reproduction, the food supply, thought, capital punishment, religion, and more. Commanders are assigned handmaids to bear their children; they rarely reproduce with their wives due to infertility (which is always blamed on the woman). Handmaids, clad in fiery red, represent sinful carnality and impersonal breeding vessels, who bring children into the world through ritualized rape ceremonies. Serena Joy is married to Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes), one of the most prominent leaders in Gilead. She wields his status like a weapon, especially because she also had a hand in crafting the regime. Serena Joy was once a well-regarded public speaker. Now, she’s relegated to the domestic sphere, cooing over other wives’ babies as she yearns for her own.
Eliza Huber Read More