The Children Are Missing In 'Handmaid's Dystopian Future

by Alaina Urquhart-White
George Kraychyk/Hulu

Whether you are familiar with the 1985 Margaret Atwood novel that it is adapted from or not, Hulu's original series, The Handmaid's Tale might appeal to you. Set in a dystopian future where the United States government has been replaced with a terrifyingly patriarchal system called The Republic of Gilead, the series tells the story of fertile women like Offred (Elisabeth Moss) who are enslaved and forced to serve as surrogates for well-off families. Many previous families are no longer recognized by this new order and are broken up immediately. So, what happened to Offred's daughter in The Handmaid's Tale? (Spoilers for the book below!)

Well, since marriages and families that occurred before the Republic of Gilead took over are no longer recognized as valid, in the book, partners are promptly broken up and any children involved are taken away from their parents to be sent to high-ranking childless couples who are loyal to the ruling body. The narrator, Offred, attempts to flee over the border to Canada with her husband and their daughter to escape the horror of being divided. Unfortunately, they are caught and separated before they can escape. Their daughter is taken away from her and shipped off to new parents, though Offred doesn't know where exactly she is being taken. This is when the narrator becomes a handmaid for a high ranking male, referred to as a Commander in Gilead law, and she gets her new name, Offred (or "Of Fred").

The handmaids' servitude revolves around this new Republic's need to continue to produce healthy children. This fictional future involves high infant mortality rates. And the many children born with birth defects are known as "unbabies." Handmaids are used and trained to bear children for Commanders and their wives. The similarities to some real societies that limit reproductive rights for women as well as the current political climate make this series an important one to see.

The Handmaid's Tale is both terrifying and fascinating. The thought of having your family torn apart and your children given to another family against your will is nightmarish. This dystopian survival story starts streaming on Hulu on April 26.