The Handmaids Tale
Margaret Atwood
Contributed by Marshall Raine
Chapter 35

Offred continues to think how she tried to escape over the Canadian border with her daughter and Luke. When they reached the border, they handed over their fake passports and waited nervously. They observe the border guard pick up the telephone and call someone, an act which is enough to force Luke into action. Filled with fear and suspicion, they drive into the woods where they got out of the car and started running. These memories mesmerize Offred as she tries to think about a time when she was in love and how it was valuable and difficult at the same time. She wonders about what happened to Luke, if he was dead in the woods and what she was supposed to do. Then, someone knocks at the door interrupting her thoughts. Offred is surprised to discover that it is Serena, who comes in and shows Offred a photograph of her daughter – a photograph that brings as much sadness as joy, feeling that her daughter wouldn’t be able to recognize her at all since she is not around to take care of her.


This chapter shows how a woman embraces her love life, and the strengh she can gain from it. Love enabled her to try and escape with Luke but now anchors her to these feelings and these memories. Another aspect of love that Atwood analyses is a mother’s love and the worry that consumes her when she is apart from her children. In this case, Offred fears that her daughter may not even be thinking about her. Therefore, this chapter clearly indicates the plight of a woman as an enduring and a caring person – Offred unable to detach from her feelings and constantly worries and imagines what has happened to both Luke and their daughter.

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