The Handmaids Tale
Margaret Atwood
Contributed by Marshall Raine
Chapter 2

The second chapter begins with a change of scene, where Offred is now living in a different room which is furnished, and decorated in a feminine style (Williamson, 2017). One of the distinguishing characteristics of this room is that it has a plastered-over hole, which constantly makes her think of an empty eye socket. The door does not close completely, and the windows do not open completely. She belongs to a handmaid group, wearing red except for a white wing which covers their face. The household comprises of the handmaids and the household servants who wear a different uniform with the two groups not supposed to form any relationship between each other. Offred overhears a conversation between Cora, and Rita; learning that Rita does not approve of Offred’s new position. She also listens to them gossiping over some of the events that experienced handmaids had gone through and wishes she could talk to them. However, as it is forbidden for her to build a relationship with them, she enters the kitchen, and picks tokens which have images of the items that she is supposed to buy.


Through the description given by Offred of the room, it is made in such a way that it snuffs out any rebellious activity. The window cannot open fully, nor the door close completely, and the prints of the iris which are in the room are not made of glass to ensure that she does not harm herself. The room is similar to a prison cell prison; albeit more attractive. Thus, Offred is only left to appreciate the fact that she is still alive, that and the sunlight. Her dressing code, although it is meant to confer with religious principles, does not match with what she is made to do every day. The conflict evident when Rita, and Cora are talking plays a significant role in showing the disunity between women. This makes it difficult for the two groups of women to come together, and fight against Gilead (Atwood, 2004).

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