The Handmaids Tale
Margaret Atwood
Contributed by Marshall Raine
Chapter 31

We see Offred pointing out that she has always wished that one day she would wake up and find herself in her own house and things back to normal. She has always hoped for that day, but over the years nothing has happened. She notes that the summer period has been very long, dry and hot and that is why she had made marks on the wall, to keep track of the days. She begins wishing that Luke was in the room so that they could argue about something petty like washing dishes. Later on, upon returning from shopping with Olfgen, Offred is called over by Serena in the garden and they have a conversation. (Atwood, 1985). While talking, Serena pulls out a cigarette and smokes it openly. She begins to talk with Offred about pregnancy, and about how if neither she nor Offred were able to conceive, it may be the Commanders issue and not theirs. Serena then proposes that Offred should consider sleeping with another man so that she could have a baby, suggesting Nick as a suitable candidate. Offred agrees and Serena assures that everything will be taken care of, before offering a cigarette to Offred.


From the assessment of the different aspects, it is clear that society still lives in denial. They fail to acknowledge the fact that men can also have reproductive defects and issues. This is clear when Serena shares the news that Ofwarren’s baby was conceived through a doctor and another Commander. The chapter also explores the ignorance of the society towards an issue which affects the wellbeing and lives of the women in the area. There are strict penalties that Serena would face if her plans to get Offred pregnant were discovered but, Serena is determined to take her chances.

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