Emma Watson Interviews Margaret Atwood on “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Emma Watson has always been very outspoken about strong female literature. In fact, she’s known to plant books around cities for people to find.
Recently, however, she was given the opportunity to interview the immensely inspirational author, Margaret Atwood, about her book The Handmaid’s Tale.
— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) 14. juli 2017
The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel that Atwood wrote in 1985 and that has now become a critically acclaimed television show on Hulu.
Watson really picked the brain of Atwood and gets very far into the background and inspiration for the novel.
There were three inspirations. First, what right[-]wing people were already saying in 1980. They were saying the kinds of things they’re now doing, but at that time they didn’t have the power to do them. I believe that people who say those kinds of things will do those things if and when they get power: They’re not just funning around … Recently, someone said, ‘Religion doesn’t radicalize people, people radicalize religion.’ So you can use any religion as an excuse for being repressive, and you can use any religion as an excuse for resisting repression; it works both ways, as it does in the book. So that was one set of inspirations.
Atwood goes on to detail that 17th-century America provided some inspiration as well, and the male-dominated field of sci-fi and speculative fiction decades of the ’30s–’50s inspired her to write from a female’s perspective.
When Watson asked her opinion on today’s climate, namely the US healthcare bill currently circulating in congress, Atwood had a bit of a positive outlook on things.
I’m not easily depressed by these sorts of things. It’s happened before. If you were born in the ’90s, you were born into a world where quite a few rights for various groups had been established, at least in the West, and you thought that was normal. But if you’re older than that and you were born into a world in which this was not the case, you saw the fights that went into those rights being established, and you also saw how quickly—in the case, for instance, of Hitler—that you could take a democratically minded fairly open society and turn it on its head. So it has happened before, but it’s also un-happened before, if you see what I mean. History is not a straight line.
Watson was curious as to Atwood’s opinion on why the story has continued to be so fascinating to generations since its publication. Atwood then explained that she had a set of rules that went into her writing: Everything had to have some truth to it. “All the details had to have some precedent to [them] … People know that I wasn’t just making up horrors to be entertaining.”
When asked what her favorite adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale was, Atwood stated that the Hulu series was very good and that there was also an opera released in 2000. Atwood stated that it can be a real gamble having your story made into a film or television show, but with the right environment and right people, it can all be a very pleasant experience.
Watson then followed up asking Atwood about what she thought about living harmoniously with each other as women in a patriarchal-type society.
Of course; there are hard things. But we’re human beings! It’s possible for men to be harmonious with one another even though they’re often very competitive. But women too are human beings; that’s my foundational belief — so they’re not exempt from the emotions that human beings have. Love, hate, jealousy, competitiveness, cooperation, loyalty, betrayal — the whole package … And it has nothing to do with whether women should have voting rights. If voting rights were determined on all men behaving well, they wouldn’t have any. Rights as citizens are quite apart from individual behavior.
The entire interview is extremely thorough and gives some great insight into the mind of Margaret Atwood. You can read the whole interview here or check it out on at newsstands July 21, 2017!
Nolite te bastardes carborundorum
Have you read or seen The Handmaid’s Tale? Did you like Emma Watson’s interview with Margaret Atwood? Let us know in the comments below!