The Handmaids Tale
Margaret Atwood
Contributed by Marshall Raine
Chapter 7

Offred opens the chapter thinking that the night is hers to do whatever she wants, as long as she does not disturb anyone and as such she decides to explore her memories, a freedom that the republic cannot touch. She thinks of a time before this all started, lying on her bed with her friend Moira. Moira suggests that they go out for a beer but Offred can’t because she has assignments that are due. She then thinks of an older memory, a date with her mother in a park in which she remembers the presence of other women setting some books on fire as a group of onlookers cheered. Offred is handed a magazine to add to the fire and before she does, she sees that it is pornography.


The burning of books in a public place has conflicting effects on the development of children, and younger generations as a whole. First, the burning of the books that contain pornographic and degrading pictures of women shows that society is fighting against indecent behavior. This is reinforced by Offred’s mother not letting her look at the magazines properly. The danger is that younger generations could be influenced into thinking that that books are worthless and deserved to be destroyed.

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