Monday, 28 March 2011

Gileadean Studies.

As all those who have read the book or seen the film will remember -Margaret Attwood's classic The Handmaid's Tale takes place in a theocratic, totalitarian state of the future, known as Gilead. The handmaid referred to in the title is OfFred-so called because she is the sexual slave of Fred. In Gilead women have been stripped of all rights and the book is about oppression-most specifically women's oppression although nobody has a good time in Gilead

What you may have forgotten (at least I had) is that there is an epilogue to the story which describes a history conference on Gileadean Studies. This takes place in the even further future after the state of Gilead has long collapsed and Gileadean studies has become part of the University curriculum. The general impression we get of the conference is that the historians haven't a clue what Gilead was like -they get bogged down in detail create their own version of the past and are generally more interested in lunch. Hmm