While the women were coming back from the birth, Offred remembers how Moira escaped. Moira caused the toilet to over flow and while Aunt Elizabeth was trying to fix it, Moira stabbed a metal object into her ribs and threatening her to go into the furnace room. She exchanged clothes with Aunt Elizabeth since she is higher ranked and walks passed the guards into freedom. This shows the first real sign of rebellion during this book. She is the first “Handmaid” to go against the Gilead ruling.
During the night, Offred sneaks to meet the Commander as she is told to do early in the book. She is unsure because if Serena finds out she could be sent to the Colonies as an “Unwomen.” But the Commander is at higher rank, so he could give her more consequences. During this time, this is illegal because the “Handmaids” are not allowed to have a relationship with the commanders. In Hebrews 13:4 says “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” This verse shows another way why the Gilead beliefs are against Christianity even tho they read the bible as if they are Christians. The Commanders only read Genesis 30:1-3 because what they are doing to these women occurred in the Bible, so they are not going against the women’s beliefs.
Offred realizes she needs to forget the path she used to have and just live under the harsh rules. You can tell the Commander is desparate for true love along with all the other girls. He wants Offred to kiss him like she means it which shows he wants her to have some feelings for him. When one of the mistress from the Nazi guards was interviewed, she denied about knowing anything about the “death camps” which is the colonies the women are sent to if they are infertile. If the women are sent there then they are basically in a death trap. She killed herself a few days after the interview because she knows how bad those women are treated there, but she did not want to get in trouble. Some of these women that are called infertile might not even be infertile because it could be the male who cannot have kids.
The Commander is the rule giver still at this time, but he still does not know how bad the women are treated. The Commander’s rules are like the Nazi leaders in Germany. The first Nazi group occurred after Hitler became Chancellor. They would not allow any communication among citizens which causes mistrust between everyone. The Nazi Germany did not begin with the extermination camps in the beginning just how the Gildead Commaders did not start the women off as property and rape them.
Offred still is seeing the Commander during this time, and she is embarrassed by what occurred during the Ceremony. The Commander says that he finds sex “impersonal” which is against the rules of the Bible. As it says in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you will abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.” We also find out that they are at acceptable level of children, so the Handmaids will become daughters of the wives. If Serena ever finds out about the activity going along between Offred and her husband then Offred will get sent to the Colonies and later die.
The women go shop at the fish store, Loaves and Fishes which is the same thing Jesus fed the Disciples and people. “Taking five loaves and the two fish and looking up to the heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.” Also, the wives print off prayers but they are not allowed to read the prayers so they just recycle them. The wives to do this because “ordering prayers from the Soul Scrolls is supposed to be a sign of piety and faithfulness to the regine.”
Offred can remember when the creation of Gilead begins in the United States. During this time, the Constitution was suspended so Moria knew things were about to get bad. All the women got fired from their job because now women are not allowed to work and their paychecks are given to the husbands or nearest male family member. Their army was basically used for security purposes. Luke is a good man from as much as we know, but he also agrees with the “patriarchy” which means that the father is the supreme authority in the family. Women did not fight against feminism, so they lost all of their rights.
During one of Offreds late night talk with the Commander, she finds out what “nalites te bastardes carborunforum” means. The phrase means “don’t let the bastards grind you down.” If Serena finds out about the Handmaid’s relationship with her husband, she knows that she is going to get sent to the colonies to die so she hangs herself. At this time, Offred realizes that she was not the only Handmaid to come to the Commander’s study before her, and he does not have any feelings toward what happened to her nor does he care if he gets caught with Offred.
Offred has flashbacks from when Luke and she tried to escape from Gilead, but they got caught because someone told on them. They did not know exactly who but they assumed it was a neighbor or one of the “eyes” could have been the one who forged their passport. The Commander says that in the old world men found everything to easy like sex. So, the Commander believes he is making men’s lives better by insisting that it makes them “feel” again. But he does not understand that stuff he puts the women through every day. He says that everyday life is “better” in Gilead but he really means worst.
There seems to not be a release anytime soon for the people to get out of the horror. Some of the people escaped by pretending they were people who they really were not. During this time, the Jews were considered “Sons of Jacobs” which brings back to the meaning of the book which is Geneses 30: 1-3. This bible verse shows how the Commanders believe that they are treating the women fine since it occurred in the Bible. Offred still has not been able to get pregnant and her time is running short, and Serena says that her husband maybe “sterile.” During this time, people are not allowed to call a man sterile, but one of the leaders called her own husband sterile instead of blaming it on Offred. This is the first bond the two women have and a feminist movement begins between the women because now it is the men’s fault that she could not get pregnant instead of her fault.
The Commander is very high in the power of chains and still believes everything he is doing is fine. He asks Offred her opinion but truly she cannot give her opinion, but he can see her unhappiness through her actions. Commander still thinks that men are happier in Gilead because when they could do what they wanted they could not “feel” anymore, but now that they have to wait they can feel again what they were missing.
The women attend “Prayvaganza” which is the word “pray with extravaganza” put together that means Church and state make up one body. At this “Prayvaganza” the women are arranged to marry whoever the leaders choose. A banner that says “God is a National Resource” hangs over the Prayvaganza which means “God is on the side of Gilead and indeed is virtually controlled by the regime.” The Handmaids have to kneel on the ground which shows “their subservient situation in Gilead’s hierarchy.”
The “Prayavaganza” are weddings for the wives’ daughters which were once the handmaids. They say the real goal of Gilead is to “create camaraderie between women” but truly they are doing the complete opposite without even really knowing. They are making women go against each other instead of making them have a friendship because of all the stuff they put them through. The Commander thinks he is teaching the importance of love when he is not allowing any type of love when he is choosing who they marry.
Offred is reminded of Luke and her escape, and she tries to remember what true love felt like and what it felt like to be actually loved again. She thinks of Luke as dead to make it easier on her. Aunt Lydia says that Gilead will eventually “become ordinary” which means this terrible government will become a part of everyday life. People will soon be used to be treated terrible that they will not even remember what is was like to have a normal life. Atwood makes a parallel comparison to the nuns having to become Handmaids. Both nuns and Handmaids resemble each other by both having religious duty and wearing long dresses that cover their whole body.
The Commander is beginning to get more comfortable with Offred because now he is getting drunk around her and giving her sexy outfits to wear when he takes her out. After he sneaks her out, he gives her a wrist band that means “evening rental.” The Commander tells Offred that she has to tell everyone who ask that she is his “evening rental” for the night.
The club allows the powerful men to be able have sexual contact with prostitutes, but the rules of Gilead says men can only have sex certain time so they do not miss the “feeling.” The Jezebel’s existence is the reputation as a bad girl of the Bible. The Commanders get their ideas from the Old Testament where they pick and choose what they say to make the women believe they are right for what they are doing. They use the Old Testament to be able to control the women as they please.
After Moria escaped from the Red Center, she made her way to the home of the Quaker couple. The Quakers made there first underground femaleroad to smuggle women to safety. The name “underground femaleroad” comes from the underground railroad that was used to transport slaves. When Moria gets caught trying to escape, instead of getting sent to the Colonies where your life expectancy is only three years. She decides to work at the club where she has four years to live.
The Commander takes Offred to a hotel room which brings back memories to when Luke and she was having an affair. During the beginning times of Gilead, Offred realized her mom was missing. Offred’s mother was a feminist and believed in everything all the beliefs of Gilead. She finds out that her mother got sent to the colonies and does not know if she has anymore resistance. The Commander becomes upset when he notest that Offred is not excited about sexual encounter which is wrong because she should like him for who is his and not just for sex. Offred tries to disappoint the Commander by not pleasing him during sex because that sex is against her will.
When Offred was back at the Commander’s house, Serena makes plans for Offred to meet up with Nick. They are meeting up to have sex because Offred has not become pregnant yet and her time is cutting short. When they begin, they have a spark because they have no actually been able to enjoy it. Offred tells her love story in two different ways. The first was full of passion which would occur in a romance story, and the other story was told as being awkward and how before Gilead they could have romance. After they are finished, Offred gets upset not knowing how Luke would feel about just occurred, so she imagines him as being dead.
Offred and Nick continue sneaking out and meeting up. This relationship between them allows her to feel like she is living the life she used to have before Gilead. She rememebers her mom saying that you can get used to any situation with a few “compensations” which is true now with her relationship with Nick. She tells Nick about her being pregnant, but she is only saying that because her time is short and she is just hoping before she gets sent to the colonies. Offred begins to feel worried when Ofglen disappears because Offred realizes that living under a totalitarian government is justified as horror.
The idea of “Salvaging” shows truly how nasty Gilead truly is. The Salvaging occurs in what used to be the Harvard Yard which symbolizes freedom and pursuit of knowledge. This is opposite of what is occurring with the Gilead Government. Aunt Lydia announces that they will not be telling out crimes people committed because people try to do the same. The brilliance of the Gilead government shows why they execute people in disturbing ways because it had horrific deaths and discourage for other rebels. Three women are hung which shows how the handmaids are starting a rebellion against the government. After the hanging, the handmaids have to place their hands on the rope to show they are still property.
The Handmaids form a circle, and they drag a third Guardian to the front. The man hangs their as if he has been drugged or drunk, and he is their because he has been convicted of rape. Women begin to show their emotions not being able to raise their own child. This is the first time Gilead has been in danger because of the women letting out their anger from the way they have been treated. The women become upset because nothing is ever the man’s fault when they could be the one who is “sterile.” The Commanders not only rape the women, but they also take the women’s baby so they can not raise it.
Offred’s story ends unevenly which shows the existence in totalitarian environment on how the people of Gilead are uncertain on what is going to happen to them. Offred spends time in her room thinking of suicide and maybe escaping but she does not show action. Gilead has made her powerless so she feels as if she can not put any of her ideas into action. Offred walks into Serena office and she shows off the sequined outfit she wore to the club, and Serena calls Offred a “slut” and tells her that she is going to end up like the other girls.
Offred sleeps preacefully while thinking of ways she can escape of kill Serena. When she hears the van coming for her, she knows it is too late to show any action now because she does not know if it is coming to save her or kill her. Offred believes Nick betraded her when he tells her to go with the eyes. Offred’s story ends either in “darkness” or “light.”