The Handmaids Tale
Margaret Atwood
Contributed by Marshall Raine
Chapter 18

Offred returns to the room still puzzled and trembling due to the situation which that she had just encountered. She is very disturbed and at the same time needs someone urgently to satisfy her desires. She starts thinking of Luke, and when she was pregnant, and how they both felt when they were together. In the midst of her thoughts, she remembers how she misses a lot of people, most of whom could be dead, imprisoned or missing. Her sexual desire is still there, seen as she remembers how Luke would make love to her while she was pregnant. Later on, however she begins to imagine that maybe he is dead, or perhaps in prison somewhere, convicted of something which he refuses to share. On the other hand, she imagines that he was able to cross the border, and she might get a message from him in the most unexpected way. She chooses to think of these scenarios simultaneously so that at the end she is not astonished by any situation.


Through Offred’s thoughts it is evident that the aspect of personal freedom is being reinforced in this situation. The events showcase how much she misses Luke and it was not her wish that they got separated. She desperately hopes that she will be able to see him again someday. She also remembers the people who she has been separated from, and wonders whether they remember her, whether they are dead, or whether they have changed their names. Offred can be seen as both a pessimist and an optimist where she paints different pictures, imagining Luke’s fate, expecting at least one of them to be true.

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