The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale

Sep 22 2017


The Handmaid’s Tale is a very scary story. The popular TV show is based on a dystopian novel written by Margaret Atwood. The writer imagined a future where most women are not fertile. The women who are fertile are called handmaids. After a revolution, the totalitarian government controls the handmaids’ lives just like Big Brother.

Some might say it is an unrealistic story. Others might say it is very realistic. The story discusses themes like public health, religion, control, independence, and environmental pollution. Some would say these issues are close to home. The TV show is also intense and got pretty real. Many think it is based on our reality in the world right now.

Andy is feeling kind of off after watching an episode. Listen as he and Dominique discuss in today’s English lesson.


Andy_H: So, uh… Dominique. I’m feeling kind of off today.
Dominique: Why? What’s going on Andy?
Andy_H: Well, I watched Handmaid’s Tale, and it got pretty real. Like, I get it that it’s, you know, based on a book that’s been out, you know, since the 80s. It’s about a dystopian, post-revolution society, but it just hit really close to home for me.
Dominique: How so?
Andy_H: Well, there’s this scene with a protest gone wrong and I mean, I… It scared me. I’m not going to lie. This is the first show I’ve seen in awhile that actually scared the bejesus out of me.
Dominique: Is that the show where the women can no longer have babies?
Andy_H: Presto! That’s exactly the one. They all have the bonnets and so… The handmaids are the only women who are fertile. They’re the only ones who can, you know, birth children. But Big Brother and the totalitarian government has like, you know, taken control of them, so… They force them to have the babies that the government wants.


Andy says he is feeling kind of off, and Dominique asks why. He said he watched Handmaid’s Tale and it got pretty real. It is about a dystopian, post-revolution society in the future. Even though the story is fiction, it felt real to Andy. It hit close to home. Dominique asks how.

Andy says there was one scene with a protest that felt really real. It scared the bejesus out of him. Dominique asks if it’s the show where the women are not fertile and can’t have babies. Andy explains that the women who are fertile are called handmaids. They wear red dresses and bonnets. The Big Brother government controls their lives.

What does a dystopian future look like to you? Can you relate to The Handmaid’s Tale?

Grammar Point

Dominique is talking about The Handmaid’s Tale with Andy. She asks, “Is that the show where the women can no longer have babies?” She uses two definite articles.

Articles in English are very important. We use them all the time. The three articles in English are a, an, and the. Here are some basic rules for understanding how to use these articles:

The is the definite article. It is used before singular or plural nouns that are specific or particular. Here are some examples:

The girl who lives next door to me is really smart.” This refers to a particular girl: the girl who lives next door. “The president is a busy man.” There is only one president, so we are referring to a specific noun. Dominique uses two definite articles. She is talking about the show, The Handmaid’s Tale, and the women in that show.

A/an are the indefinite articles. We use a/an before general, non-specific nouns or to indicate membership in a group. A/an can only be used with countable, singular nouns. Here are some examples of how to use a/an:

“Let’s go see a movie tonight.” We aren’t talking about a specific movie, as we haven’t said which movie we want to see. “Cassie is an actor.” Cassie belongs to a group: actors. We use “an” instead of “a” because “actor” begins with a vowel. “I hope I get a car for my birthday.” This refers to any car.

Which is correct, “I don’t want a dystopian future,” or “I don’t want the dystopian future”?


  1. Which sentence is true?

  2. A government that controls everything is __.

  3. Andy thinks that The Handmaid’s Tale __.

  4. I want __ future to be full of hope and happy things.

See the full English lesson at English, baby!