We’re all still reeling from season one of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which ended, as A.V.
Club reviewer Allison Shoemaker put it, with a “thoughtful, thrilling finale.” Those looking for more context on this fascinating season are in luck: Margaret Atwood, author of the dystopian novel the series is based on—where fertile women are forced into surrogate slavery to help populate the barren, male-dominated society of Gilead—has annotated season one for The New York Times.
Atwood offers valuable background information on elements like the series’ costuming, as well as on Gilead’s fertility issues, black-market nightclub, and subversive resistance.
Atwood starts with the costumes—red for Handmaids, blue for wives, green for Marthas, brown for aunts.
Further, the article says: The red is also borrowed from Christian iconography of the late-medieval, early Renaissance period, she said, in which “the Virgin Mary would inevitably wear blue or blue-green, and Mary Magdalene would inevitably wear red.” Atwood also points to the historic precedents of “frenzied murder mobs,” similar to when the Handmaids are instructed en masse to execute someone.