The Handmaids Tale
Margaret Atwood
Contributed by Marshall Raine
Chapter 14

At the beginning of this chapter, a bell has summoned the members of the household, including the Commander, Serena, Offred, Nick, Cora, and Rita, for a household ceremony. Offred is the first to enter the sitting room where the Ceremony will be held, she describes the room as being well furnished, and decorated with works of art, an indication of the affluence, and taste of the owners. The two ladies, Cora, and Rita arrive a bit later because they had to take care of some chores. Nick also comes in, and stands extremely close to Offred, discretely tapping Offred’s foot from time to time, something that confuses and frightens Offred with paranoia taking hold. 

As soon as Serena comes in they begin watching the news. It is a custom that Serena calls them, and so makes them watch news even though they have little interest in it. National matters such as the arrest of two smugglers are broadcasted on the television screen. Offred again replays a memory in her head, when, in her former life, Luke, Offred and their child pack the car under the pretenses of going for a picnic whilst carrying official documents in an attempt to cross the border into Canada.


Serena is much more concerned with the events happening on the news than the younger household members. While it has become a custom for the household to watch the news, it is something instigated by Serena, and seemingly for her own benefit. She doesn’t seem concerned about the others at all however, coming into the room and controlling the television in her own time.

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