The Handmaids Tale
Margaret Atwood
Contributed by Marshall Raine
Chapter 30

In this chapter Offred sees Nick, outside in the dark as she is about to close the window, and a sudden rush of sexual desire and chemistry is exchanged between the two of them. Thoughts of Nick propel her to think about Luke, and she keeps recalling their fateful escape attempt, wondering how they were found; speculating that the neighbors may have had a hand to play in their capture, either the neighbors or the passport forger himself. She remembers the events in detail, and the conversations she had with Luke, such as the decision on what to do with their cat. For subtlety’s sake, they could not bring the cat when they left their home and so killed it in the garage. A death that Offred feels guilty about, especially over the ultimately pointlessness of it all.


In this chapter, additional details are revealed about Offred’s and Luke’s botched escape. It is also clear that despite living in a predominantly religious setting, the handmaid is not really aware of how to pray, a concern that possibly reflects the propitiation that society at the time faced. The chapter touches on the sexual expression of women, and how they respond to mutual attraction, especially in such a monitored society. In this case, Offred feels the mutual sexual feeling between herself and Nick but shuts the curtains to the windows quickly, too fearful to explore it.

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