‘Jeopardy!’ Drops Tough Question About Literature and Television Crossover

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

One of the most entertaining things about Jeopardy! is playing along from home. It makes the difference between just watching your television and having a battle of wits with it. In the age of social media, you don’t even have to watch the show every day in order to play along at home. In fact, all you have to do is pull up the iconic quiz show’s profile on whatever platform you prefer. From there, you can usually get in some of the trivia action.

Last night, Jeopardy! tweeted out a pretty tough question. It combined 1980s literature, classic literature, and a current television series. The topics packed into this question serve to illustrate the wealth of knowledge that contestants on the show have to have before stepping onto the stage. However, the iconic quiz show made it a little easier for those of us playing along at home. The caption of the tweet gave a good hint just in case you’re a little rusty on specific eras of literature. Check out the tweet below.

The photo shows the clue, “The title of this 1985 novel by a Canadian author partly alludes to the similarly named stories in a 14th-century work.” That’s a tough one. Thankfully, the Jeopardy! Twitter account did some of the heavy lifting for us. In the caption, they wrote, “Even if you haven’t read this 1985 novel, you’ve likely heard of the TV series with the same name.” That made things a little easier.

What is The Handmaid’s Tale?

Breaking Down Jeopardy!‘s Tough Literature Clue

Jeopardy!‘s Twitter account made it so much easier for us by adding the TV reference. However, some still missed the mark. So, let’s look at it a little closer.

The Handmaid’s Tale is a series about a dystopian future. It hit Hulu in 2017 and became an instant hit. The fourth season of the show hit the streaming service earlier this year and it shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. As Jeopardy! pointed out, the series started as a 1985 novel by Canadian author Margaret Arwood.

The novel was a bestseller, hence the Jeopardy! category. It also racked up several awards and nominations. Critics and readers alike loved the dystopian future setting and feminist commentary in the novel. Since then, the book has been adapted into a film, an opera, and most recently a TV series.

The 14th-century work to which Jeopardy! alludes to in the clue is The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. That book is a collection of loosely connected short stories. They have titles like “The Knight’s Tale,” “The Merchant’s Tale,” and “The Parson’s Tale.” So, The Handmaid’s Tale would fit in the list alongside the rest.