The Handmaids Tale
Margaret Atwood
Contributed by Marshall Raine
Chapter 34

The events of the chapter remain in the courtyard which is now packed to capacity. A Commander comes in and informs the crowd that it is Thanksgiving, a day of praise. The session is filled with stories of sacrifice and victory, neither of these interesting Offred at all. The meeting is centered around the presentation of twenty young women to their Angel husbands. The girls, who are as young as fourteen years, walk to the stage covered in veils and are given to their husbands in an arranged marriage. The event prompts Offred to remember a conversation she held with the Commander.  The Commander believes that the situation in Gilead has offered women a conducive space where they can procreate in peace, free from any of the stresses found in the former USA, but Offred insists that the little freedom provided does not grant them love. The Commander counters this point by stating that in his experience, arranged marriages worked far better than the ones resulting from love. After that, the ceremony continues, and Offred remembers Aunt Lydia’s words stating that the primary aim of the community is to ensure that a firm relationship of love, trust, and companionship is created.


The author tries to provide counter-arguments to the situation in Gilead’s society. There are so many rules and regulations that exist, but everybody has their own perspective on the situation. It seems that the ruling classes see almost all the laws as being positive ones, put in place for everyone’s benefit. For instance, the existing rules in Gilead ensure that children are not neglected and also ensure that women are safe at all times, apparently free from worry about rape or sexual assault. Furthermore, the law ensures that women are not forced to work if they do not want to. It is no coincidence that the positive aspects of Gilead’s laws are showcased at the Prayavaganza, a ceremony designed to show stability, commitment, love and trust.

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