Once Again, Gilead: Adaptations of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale
Using Linda Hutcheon’s theoretical work on adaptations, this presentation explores how different versions of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale support the subversion of rigid ideologies enforced by the totalitarian regime of Gilead in the novel. In particular, it will focus on the film and television adaptations of the novel. While these adaptations are successful to varying degrees, they share a postmodern approach because they offer a version rather than an absolute. This notion is incredibly important to the survival of Offred, the protagonist of The Handmaid’s Tale, and by extension, the story itself.
MacKenzie Read holds a Master’s degree from the University of Saskatchewan, where she studied American feminist television series and films. Currently, she works as a coordinator at READ Saskatoon.
Speculative Adaptation of Canadian Female Writings: The Phenomenon of The Handmaid's Tale
Speculative fiction has served as a platform to confront a radically changing reality, on various levels to which the audience responds in multiple ways. Through their own perspectives, speculative writers create space for underestimated or unheard groups, women included.
Nevertheless, speculative fiction enters a new path when adapted onto the screen. The question is whether and how greatly speculative fiction’s initial message changes after being adapted. To what extent may one conclude that, in the zeitgeist of a ‘digital natives society,’ speculative adaptation alters the contemporary situation, just as in the case of The Handmaid’s Tale with the introduction of ‘Ubers, Tinders and cappuccinos.’ Consequently, is it still a ‘speculative adaptation’? The messages provided through Canadian female speculative fiction, adapted onto the silver screen, can lead us towards answering the question of why its words and ideas shockingly seem to be becoming more applicable nowadays.
Joanna Szydełko is a PhD student at Pedagogical University of Kraków, Poland. Her main field of interest is female literature of North America. Her academic interests focus on women’s writings in modern-day Canada, alongside their understanding of current issues. In her PhD dissertation, which she is currently preparing, she analyzes the speculative fiction of three Canadian writers: Cherie Dimaline, Nalo Hopkinson, and Margaret Atwood.
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