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SilverStormm

Red Habits: Symbolism and Parallels

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Silver creates and populates the forums with topics people suggested in New Show Forum Requests. It's up to the viewers to post in the new topics! This thread won't be very useful until the show actually airs, of course.

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So the protest scenes in episode 3 reminded me of protests I have actually been to.  Particularly Black Lives Matter protests where the cops show up in riot gear.  Think army trucks in Ferguson.  While cops have never started shooting real bullets they have shot tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray and sound weapons have been used.  Protesters have been seriously injured.  I'm assuming we were supposed to make this comparison.

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I read the book in college during my Atwood Phase. It was definitely a precursor to the Young Adult Dystopian Phase that's become so prevalent now. Weird that we have people in countries that have managed to achieve equal rights for women and gays who advocate for bringing just the type of System THT warns of into those very same societies. The more things change...

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I don't want to start an argument so I won't get too political, but in the current mess of politics, this whole show is a parallel to the present-day global climate. Nationalism seems to be rivaling 1848 levels and some people seem to be clutching to the us versus them model in order for "safety" and to protect the future. Better to be with the in crowd than the out, I guess.

The fear of losing reproductive rights is also a real one for many. And unfortunately the concentration camps for homosexuals and other supposedly deviant people. 

This show breaks my heart. All of it can be compared to something happening now somewhere in the world.

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I've seen the handmaids' red outfits being linked to menstruating and thereby their ability to reproduce. What about the wives' all green get ups?

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They are teal, supposed to be blue (in the book.)  The Martha's are supposed to wear green, show chose to do a khaki green.

I think the red is more to have it be very difficult to run away frankly, noticeable, no matter what they do.

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On 6/14/2017 at 4:37 PM, bijoux said:

What about the wives' all green get ups?

I believe it is supposed to be blue... which represents Mary (the mother, not the follower/supporter). She did not bear Jesus, but was his mother - very similar to the position of wives in Gilead. 

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On 24/06/2017 at 10:08 AM, EC Amber said:

I believe it is supposed to be blue... which represents Mary (the mother, not the follower/supporter). She did not bear Jesus, but was his mother - very similar to the position of wives in Gilead. 

I'm not sure what you mean by she didn't bear Jesus? There was the whole stable and manger situation. 

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One of the main things that allowed Gilead to happen was eliminating constitutional rights for "safety." 

People keep saying it couldn't happen here.  I watched this video this morning.  It's chilling, and I'm not trying to bring up discussion of gun rights.  Specifically talking about the right to assemble and demonstrations right now.  Maybe Margaret made the whole thing relatively peaceful, but here?  I'm worried about convincing a "base" to get violent.  I've seen hate talk and threats on social media about protests, even, and to me, most horrifying about the extremely peaceful "Women's March."  I read post after post about killing them, absolute hate.

Here we go.

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On ‎4‎/‎26‎/‎2017 at 5:18 AM, Shaynaa said:

So the protest scenes in episode 3 reminded me of protests I have actually been to.  Particularly Black Lives Matter protests where the cops show up in riot gear.  Think army trucks in Ferguson.  While cops have never started shooting real bullets they have shot tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray and sound weapons have been used.  Protesters have been seriously injured.  I'm assuming we were supposed to make this comparison.

It actually took me back to the stuff that happened in Ukraine few years back, where they were shooting at people. Medics with red cross on their arm were shot at while retrieving injured ... by snipers... I was watching both this episode and those videos with my hand over my opened mouth in disbelief...

Edited by vavera4ka
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I'm reading a book set in the south right now, and there is a reception held after a judge's swearing in. At one point the judge mentions that "one of the Marthas" hands her a plate of food...."I remembered her name is Gladys". I had a bit of a shock wondering if this was a reference to the Handmaid's Tale. I paged back a few pages and saw that she was "one of the women from the Martha Circle" which I had never heard of, but then, I'm a northerner. But it is apparently a thing as I found in this reference from an Episcopal church  (in Maine of all places)

Martha Circle

Inspired by St. Martha who worked tirelessly to provide hospitality to Jesus in her home, St. David’s Martha Circle consists of individuals in the parish who prepare and take meals to those who find themselves in circumstances where meals would be helpful.  They also offer rides to the doctor and assistance such as dog walking and picking up mail. 

Maybe I missed it, but is this where the Marthas of the book came from? 

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12 minutes ago, dleighg said:

I'm reading a book set in the south right now, and there is a reception held after a judge's swearing in. At one point the judge mentions that "one of the Marthas" hands her a plate of food...."I remembered her name is Gladys". I had a bit of a shock wondering if this was a reference to the Handmaid's Tale. I paged back a few pages and saw that she was "one of the women from the Martha Circle" which I had never heard of, but then, I'm a northerner. But it is apparently a thing as I found in this reference from an Episcopal church  (in Maine of all places)

Martha Circle

Inspired by St. Martha who worked tirelessly to provide hospitality to Jesus in her home, St. David’s Martha Circle consists of individuals in the parish who prepare and take meals to those who find themselves in circumstances where meals would be helpful.  They also offer rides to the doctor and assistance such as dog walking and picking up mail. 

Maybe I missed it, but is this where the Marthas of the book came from? 

Yes, the Martha's in the book (and the Martha Circle) is from St. Martha, the sister of Mary.  Martha and Mary were the sisters of Lazarus and also known from the story where Jesus comes to visit and Martha is busy trying to prepare everything while Mary sits adoringly with Jesus.  When Martha basically tells her sister to get off her ass and help, Jesus scolds her (Martha!) and...

 

Quote

 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a]Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Honestly, that story always sort of pissed me off.

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I have been paying close attention to everything that has been happening in the show and I want to point out some very interesting parallels/symbolism that I've been seeing. Just a quick spoiler warning for everyone because I have no clue how far anyone reading this is and I will be mentioning certain things from specific episodes. Read with caution and you have been warned. 

Okay so to start off I find the whole show to just be so beautiful, the way that they frame everything single shot in exactly the right way and the breathtaking angles just makes the show so captivating for me. Because of this I've been really focusing on everything that these shots might mean so forgive me if anything I saw seems really far fetched, I just really love this show a lot. 

Alright so with the outfits I am absolutely in love with the coloring, the way that the wives wear the blue color which I agree with EC Amber when she says that the blue may represent the virgin Mary's colors. Now as for the red that the handmaids wear I think this might tie into the fact that red had always been a color that has been associated with adultery (for example the Scarlet Letter) which is what many of the wives may feel about the handmaids and essentially what a handmaids position is in Gilead. I also find it interesting how the other uniform colors worn by other members of the house are always bland and don't grab any form of attention. As if the only important members of the household aren't as important as the Commander, Wife and Handmaid. 

The next thing that I found extremely interesting was the parallels between the bombing scene and when Serena handed June the pen to begin editing. In the bombing episode we see that she turns to face her fellow handmaids and holds up the detonator, the motion in her hands at that moment as she presses the switch are very slow and deliberate. Then when June gets old of the pen she does not hold it normally but rather just like the handmaid had held the detonator. As she holds this up I see it as her setting off her own 'bomb' so to say, and by helping Selena she sees herself doing a similar amount of work. The parallel between the two scenes is simply amazing and I found it so clever! The show keeps throwing in little treasures like this and it makes me very compelled to watch whats next!

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https://youtu.be/R45eiu8SXko

Hopefully I’m posting this in the right thread, and that it hasn’t already been posted. I just saw this posted on reddit and felt that it really explains all the symbolism and parallels in The Handmaid’s Tale really well. It also really shows all of the points The Handmaid’s Tale is trying to make about our society, sexism, the importance of reproductive freedom to everyone etc. Worth a watch, I think. 

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On 25 June 2018 at 1:51 AM, BumbleBear said:

Alright so with the outfits I am absolutely in love with the coloring, the way that the wives wear the blue color which I agree with EC Amber when she says that the blue may represent the virgin Mary's colors. Now as for the red that the handmaids wear I think this might tie into the fact that red had always been a color that has been associated with adultery (for example the Scarlet Letter) which is what many of the wives may feel about the handmaids and essentially what a handmaids position is in Gilead. I also find it interesting how the other uniform colors worn by other members of the house are always bland and don't grab any form of attention. As if the only important members of the household aren't as important as the Commander, Wife and Handmaid. 

In terms of costuming, I think that the Handmaid uniform has some great touches.

The boots they wear look pretty cumbersome, not the easiest to run in, and are also designed to be worn without shoelaces. The colour of the dresses is probably part Scarlet Letter, partly to symbolise menstrual blood, but it also has the advantage of being very visible, more so than the colour schemes for Econowives, Marthas and even Wives. They draw the eye, and are under everybody's scrutiny. The caps are probably intended to make them look less attractive, to help appease the Wives, even if the official reason is modesty.

It's also interesting that the Handmaids' usual dresses look like they're designed to accommodate pregnancy, rather than them having access to maternity clothes. It looks like a wide band around the waist is used to secure the dress for a non-pregnant Handmaid, so it only fits properly if she is fulfilling her "intended purpose".

The Wives seem to be the only women with any kind of flexibility in terms of their clothes; they need to stick to a colour scheme and requirements in terms of length, etc, but there's at least a little variety allowed.

The clothes for children are another point of interest. I wonder if little girls transition from the white dresses worn at the reception to the pink dresses that Hannah and the girls in the first episode wore based on age, or if the pink dresses are for the pre-Gilead daughters of Handmaids, who were adopted, while the little girls conceived under the Handmaid system are regarded as being of purer origin, and will wear white until they marry.

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