The most interesting part of this final section of the novel for me was the “Historical Notes,” where professors discuss and analyze Gilead far in the future. It was interesting to me that the professor speaking warns the audience not to judge the people of this time period too harshly. The people of Gilead were struggling with many different issues, and although the system they put in place was inhumane and corrupt, they were doing what they felt was a last resort or the only option to fix their failing society. Those who put this power structure in place lacked the knowledge to find a better alternative, and those that went along with it lacked the power or ability to do anything else or resist.
I think this is very applicable to how we look at history today. Although we should be looking back at history to learn from it to not repeat the mistakes of the past, people tend to judge what are now considered to be the “bad” parts of history. Placing too much judgement on the actions of some in the past does not progress society further, nor is it completely justified. People do what they believe is the best option at the time given the knowledge available to them, or they follow along with what others tell them to do due to a lack of power or ability to do anything else. This is not to their own fault completely, just as it is not the fault of the people of Gilead.