If you have heard about the series The Handmaid’s Tale from Hulu, you’re not alone – so have the students from our MSS1 Grundkurs in English. These students not only watched parts of the series, but read the book on which the series was based. The story tells of a distopian society with an infertility crisis where women are assigned roles in order to keep society religiously wholesome as well as bring children into the world despite the infertility problem. In this world, women are stripped of their rights and are not even allowed to read or write. They become prisoners of this system and fight back in subtle ways. Escape attempts occur as well, with a small success rate.
While reading this book, the learners were incredibly appalled, but also intrigued by this system. They could not believe how women were stripped of their rights, but at the same time they related to the oppression of these women by a system determined to keep them within. After they had seen the series and compared it to the story they read, they were able to visually see the world created by the author, which in some cases, made the reality of this scary world more evident.The last step was an article about Trump’s America versus The Handmaid’s Tale and how a society similar to this could become a reality.
These learners were fascinated by the connections between real-world laws and regulations in America versus the laws and rules created for women in the book/series. This lead to some intense in-class discussions on these sorts of topics. This series, novel and article brought a passion to the surface in our learners which was refreshing to see. After these discussions, it would not surprise us if any of these kids become active in the creation of their own rights in the future. We look forward to what they will achieve.