Hope and Fertility

      The movie Children of Men had some very interesting parallels to the Handmaid’s Tale. Both societies have become infertile, but society’s outlook is very different. In the Handmaid’s Tale, the people maintain some hope of having children. Through religion, they continue to have faith in the possibility of having children. Societal restructures occur so that there is a system to put your faith in – the system of handmaids and wives, promising a better future for all children. Obviously, not all characters maintain this outlook, as we see through Offred’s point of view, but even she does carry some hope that life will improve, especially for the sake of her lost daughter.

      On the other hand, in the film Children of Men, the people of the world have generally run out of hope. They have no children left to hope for; there is no remaining reason to wish for a better society because there is no next generation. Governments have fallen entirely, and we are given the impression that while the rest of the world is in total anarchy, “Britain soldiers on.” It’s an interesting choice of words considering that there is definitely a huge military presence in the country.

      The lack of hope is definitely a continued theme throughout the film. The viewer is left with a certain sense of nostalgia, from Julian reminiscing about the “good ol’ days” with Theo to the song on the radio from “way way back in 2003, before people knew that the future was right around the corner.” But this nostalgia vanishes quickly alongside the hope. As Jasper says when talking about Dylan’s death, “faith lost out to chance. So why bother if life’s going to make its own choices?”

      The desperation in Children of Men dims at the thought of Kee’s pregnancy and baby, but even the presence of the infant isn’t enough to stop the fighting permanently. The world has been totally ruined, it seems, because the Uprising is intent on destroying the political forces of Britain. It’s as if the world is too destroyed for anything to be done to resurrect the hope for a brighter future. Most people believe the Human Project to be a myth, but Kee is able to maintain her faith because she must – she has to try for her baby.

      Overall, it’s not a lighthearted message that Children of Men is telling. The film implies that the only reason humans are able to have faith and keep working to improve society is because they want things to be better for their children. Without any hope of kids remaining, the world falls apart. It’s the faith and hope that keeps society running, but the total lack of hope leads to anarchy. Children of Men is a conceivable conclusion to the story in the Handmaid’s Tale ­– it’s the story of a world that no longer has any faith in institutions to help them, because no institution can bring back children. 


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