The Handmaids Tale Part 1: Crash Course Literature #403

In which John Green teaches you about Margaret Atwood’s speculative fiction novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. John looks at some of the themes in this classic dystopian novel, many of which are kind of a downer. The world of Gilead that Atwood created looks at a lot of the issues that we deal with today, and the very human impulse to return to an imagined golden era, thereby solving all of our modern world’s problems. Yeah, it doesn’t work like that.

Crash Course is made with Adobe Creative Cloud. Get a free trial here:

Crash Course is on Patreon! You can support us directly by signing up at

Thanks to the following Patrons for their generous monthly contributions that help keep Crash Course free for everyone forever:

Mark Brouwer, Divonne Holmes à Court, Brian Thomas Gossett, Khaled El Shalakany, Indika Siriwardena, Robert Kunz, SR Foxley, Sam Ferguson, Yasenia Cruz, Daniel Baulig, Eric Koslow, Caleb Weeks, Tim Curwick, Jessica Wode, Cami Wilson, Eric Prestemon, Evren Türkmenoğlu, Alexander Tamas, Justin Zingsheim, D.A. Noe, Shawn Arnold, Tom Trval, mark austin, Ruth Perez, Malcolm Callis, Kathrin Janßen, Ken Penttinen, Advait Shinde, Cody Carpenter, Annamaria Herrera, Nathan Taylor, William McGraw, Bader AlGhamdi, Vaso, Melissa Briski, Joey Quek, Andrei Krishkevich, Rachel Bright, Alex S, Mayumi Maeda, Kathy & Tim Philip, Montather, Jirat, Eric Kitchen, Moritz Schmidt, Ian Dundore, Chris Peters, Sandra Aft, Jason A Saslow, Steve Marshall

Want to find Crash Course elsewhere on the internet?
Facebook –
Twitter –
Tumblr –
Support Crash Course on Patreon:

CC Kids:


Badmoth242 Xl says:

Damn, that hit me like “The Day After” did to kids in the 80’s. That was *deep*

Bernie Katzroy says:

Omg, I have been waiting for a handmaids tale crash course!

NutsAboutNames says:

When I first heard about ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, I read that it’s about women trying to use agency, and I expected them to use way more agency than they did. So having that expectation, the book was even more heartbreaking than it would have been without it.

Nelson Chereta says:

Yes, how awful that authors aren’t perfect, mystical beings, but rather ordinary people. Shouldn’t that be more inspiring rather than less?

Emma Curzon says:

Also I’m just watching this for entertainment now bcos I’m weird- but seriously I really like your show.

Mr. Muffins says:

So much book plugging

LeaselMary says:

Damnit, John. Moira is not a ‘sex worker’. Nothing about her ‘job’ is voluntary or legal. She was forced into prostitution, not ‘sex work’.

shiro plz says:


dyn01234567 says:

1: You should totally review Neuromancer if you are going to review dystopias
2: William Gibson’s twitter account is pretty good

Ayla Cheshir says:

This story terrified me even more then 1984 because it was from a perspective of a woman. It made me feel alone and vulnerable and very much scared of the future.

Renzo says:

A barrage of verbiage. A tsunami of words. Too fast. Too much.

Paul Keefer says:

_”Nolite te bastardes carborundorum”_

kelly newman says:

Hi can you do a crash course on ‘brave new world’ I have to study it and its just sooo confusing. Can you do othello as well.

miriam says:

both the book and the series are horribly, hauntingly realistic. they resemble what my Jewish great-grandmother told about how Europe changed in ’30-ies, how she couldn’t believe what was happening until it was too late, what my elderly Estonian neighbour told about the occupations, both German and Soviet… but most scarily, this doesn’t just remind us of the past periods of mad cruelty, the wounds are still fresh in Serbia, it goes on in middle East, in Africa, it’s makes current tendencies in USA and Russia chillingly ominous.
The Hamdmaid’s Tale makes me remember how easily societies slip into madness. And that is good, because we shouldn’t forget that.

Alicia Nicole says:

The speaker looks so familiar. I can’t remember where I’ve seen him before.

R023 G0ld says:

I was reading Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas, it’s one of my favourite series. I was on Goodreads and was looking for similar books. I looked at a list called Strong Female Leads. The Handmaid’s Tale was listed and reading the description and reviews was horrifying. The premise was abhorrent due to the fact it makes you consider a horrible situation which is completely possible. The following year the T.V series was released. My Literature teacher recommended it to us. She said “we are women who are studying literature, I want you to look at a world where you have the right to read taken away from you”

Justin Bates says:

Crash Course Geography please

7913AJunior says:

Today on Crash Course: John Green has a crush on Margaret Atwood

Kitty Poptart says:

When you didnt like The Outsiders but its okay bc se Hinton is a trash person and tweeted that people shipping johnny and ponyboy are “heterophobic” on her twitter.

ariesfunk says:

I think getting raped, as horrible and despicable as it is, is still less worse than having rats eating your face and to make the person you love go through that torture just to save yourself. So, to compare the dehumanization between these two books is a meaningless task, as the big brother’s party puts a great deal of effort into breaking people’s spirit

Nadiya Nanoha says:

It’s outrageous how many people in the Western world whine about living in “Handmaiden’s tale”.

SAY UNCLE!!! says:

Too much unfunny nerd humor.

jon herrera says:

Handmaids Tale … All Stars 3 … Foreshadowing ! : )

Branden Grasley says:

Sir you’ve just saved my English mark ❤️❤️

M Jones says:

Wow. Typical liberal porn. Point your fingers and plug your ears. That’s the way to solve misunderstandings!

Beau Sheffield says:

Cheaper, definitely. Better quality, questionable.

 Write a comment


Do you like our videos?
Do you want to see more like that?

Please click below to support us on Facebook!