What year is The Handmaid's Tale set in?06/23/2021
THE HANDMAID'S TALE has become one of the most terrifying TV shows of the 21st century.
But what year is the dystopian drama set in? Here’s everything you need to know.
When is the TV series set in?
The TV series is set in the near future.
The US government has been overthrown and the Republic of Gilead has been established.
During a flashback, main character June – played by Elisabeth Moss – meets her husband Luke for the first time.
The topic of conversation is dating app Tinder – launched in 2012 – and their friend Moira is using an iPhone 5, a popular device at the time.
When June, Luke and their daughter Hannah are caught trying to escape Gilead, the youngster is around five years old.
If we assume the couple dated for a year before they got pregnant, that would take us up to 2018.
And when June sees Hannah again in Gilead, she's around nine or ten – meaning approximately five years have lapsed.
That would take us up to 2023 – but the show could be set a few years later if any of the aforementioned events were delayed.
Either way, it's worryingly close to the present day.
What are the main references to current events?
Tinder isn’t the only reference to a modern day product in the TV show.
Smartphones are often seen in flashbacks and there's even a mention of taxi firm Uber.
And the clothes worn by June and her friends before the rise of Gilead are modern.
When was The Handmaid's Tale book written?
The Handmaid’s Tale was written in 1985 by Canadian author Margaret Atwood.
The book is also set in the near future – around 2005 – showing how quickly the world can fall into despair.
Although it's a work of science fiction, Atwood’s novel makes reference to several aspects of religious and political history.
Speaking to Rolling Stone about the inspiration for her book in May 2021, the author said: "I noticed from looking at my notes that I started actually thinking about [the book] in 1981.
"What had just happened? Ronald Reagan had been elected and the religious right was on the rise in those years, the early Eighties."
Atwood released a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale – The Testaments – which she began writing when Donald Trump’s presidential bid was beginning to gain momentum.
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