Research Proposal: The Handmaid’s Tale

In my final presentation, I will discuss a cinematic adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s groundbreaking dystopian novel, “The Handmaid’s Tale” (1990). The themes in the literary form and the film adaptation revolve around power relations between men and women and social control in a dystopic setting. Dystopian images are an apt setting for scrutinizing the intricacies of interaction between different power regimes and individual will, particularly concerning gender relations.

To discover the reasons for these particular selections, I selected the 1990 version adapted by Schlöndorff and its influence on the story’s meaning and societal criticism. In this research study, I will scrutinize how the movie renders and conveys themes found in Atwood’s writing as presented by Chaney. Moreover, I pledge to help trace copies of the literature or the film to facilitate their availability for total involvement and exploration during the research process. The primary purpose of this comparison is to highlight some issues and problems encountered, as well as creative decisions made while translating complex literary material into screenplay.

Thesis Statement

the 2016 adaptation from the Huru series The Handmaid’s Tale is logically justified considering adaptation-related factors, including historicity, socioculturally, the period of the decade from 1980 until 1989, market anxiety and feminism, the genre of science fiction, as well as the impact of commercial considerations


At the moment, I plan to undertake this research task as an individual effort. Nevertheless, I may consider setting up a small team or group containing between two to three members so that we can have a broader range of opinions.

Presentation Outline

  1. Introduction
  2. Background

A landmark piece of literature on futuristic oppression entitled “The Handmaid’s Tale,” written by Margaret Atwood, depicts a scenario where a government uses women to breed. The novel portrays issues related to power, gender, and social order in a scary dystopia. The anxiety and political climate of the time are reflected in Volker Schlöndorff’s 1990 cinematic adaptation that draws on historical and social influences. In this respect, Schlöndorff’s interpretation embodies Atwood’s story about how totalitarian dystopia presses and oppresses (Gerrits 210). With its historical context, it deftly negotiates the difficult question of how much fidelity to the original should be incorporated into adaptation when adopting dystopian literature to cinema, and this is a fascinating example.

  1. Literature Review

A. Prior literature on literary adaptations: A review.

  1. Evaluation of previous research concerning “The Handmaid’s Tale” variants
  2. Discuss voids in the existing research material and the necessity of narrowing down on a specific study.
  3. Theoretical Framework
  4. Adaptation-related factors
  1. Historicity adaptation of historical components from the source documentation and analysis.
  2. Socio-cultural: The investigation into socio-cultural issues of the original work and adaptation.
  3. The decade of the 1980s assessment of how this period influenced the narrative and adaptation selection.
  4. Market anxiety and feminism: An examination concerning market trends as well as the relevance to feminist perspective on adaptation
  5. Genre of science fiction
  6. Assessing how genre impacts the adaption process.
  7. Impact of Commercial Considerations
  8. Analyzing business-related decisions and how they affect changes.
  9. Methodology
  1. Research design
  2. Data collection
  3. Ethical considerations
  4. Results and Discussion
  1. Analysis and interpretation of results on the backdrop of a theoretical frame.
  2. Comparison with existing literature
  3. Future adaptations and implications of this research for academic response
  4. Conclusion
  1. Summary of key findings
  2. Contributions to the field
  3. Recommendations for future research

Works Cited

Chaney, Jen. Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale Is Your Must-Watch Show This Spring. April 3, 2017 Vulture. review.html. Accessed 15 Dec. 2023.

Gerrits, Jeroen. “From Episodic Novel to Serial TV: The Handmaid’s Tale, Adaptation and Politics.” Open Philosophy 5.1 (2021): 209-230.

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