The Handmaids Tale
Margaret Atwood
Contributed by Marshall Raine
Chapter 45

For the most part Offred is relieved that Ofglen took her own life rather than being tortured, meaning her secrets were also safe (Atwood, 2004). However, Offred continues to wonder if the new Ofglen was telling the truth. As she walks back to the house, she begins to panic, and promises to herself that she will be the perfect handmaid, doing everything that she is asked to do. By so doing, she would avert being suspected or captured – both events that would lead to her torture and death. She is pulled back into reality when Serena storms angrily out of the house. Offred immediately knows that she must have done something wrong but cannot put her finger on what her mistake is. Serena then shows her the blue cloak that has makeup smeared all over it as well as the leotard that she had worn to Jezebels. Serena orders Offred upstairs, calling her a slut and comparing her to the previous handmaid.


Offred seems to come to term with Gilead’s power in this chapter, she is prepared to give up hope and surrender to the regimes rule, making her willing to submit every command given her way, and now aspires to be a perfect handmaid. Although Serena was willing to help Offred get pregnant, by introducing her to Nick, as well as being willing to allow her to have sex with her husband for the purpose of procreation; she becomes angry when she learns that Offred has a personal connection with the Commander. She goes to the extent of insulting her by calling her a slut. Rather than being angered by the sexual relationship between Offred and her husband; it is the personal, emotional relationship that makes her angrier. According to Republic of Gilead, having such personal relationships is something considered shameful and more importantly criminal.

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