The Handmaid’s Tale

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Nick Character Analysis

The Commander’s driver and Serena Joy’s helper in the garden, and Offred’s lover. Nick’s official position is Guardian, and he seems to be low-ranking because he hasn’t been assigned a woman. From the beginning, he roguishly rejects some of Gilead’s strictures (by rolling up his uniform sleeves, for example), but the Commander and Serena Joy find him trustworthy and get his help for their own misdeeds. He is secretive and discreet, and Offred can never quite figure out what he’s thinking, even during their love affair. The question of his true alliances comes to a head at the book’s cliffhanger ending, but the postscript “Notes” suggest that he was working for the Resistance after all.
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Nick Character Timeline in The Handmaid’s Tale

The timeline below shows where the character Nick appears in The Handmaid’s Tale. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Fertility Theme Icon
...Commander’s Wife, Serena Joy, takes care of the garden, with the aid of a Guardian (Nick). Serena Joy, who has arthritis in her left foot, also passes time sewing and knitting... (full context)
Chapter 4
Fertility Theme Icon
Rebellion Theme Icon
...in hair, and the worms remind Offred of fertility. The Guardian assigned to the Commander, Nick, polishes the Commander’s fancy Whirlwind car. Nick demonstrates a touch of irreverence by rolling up... (full context)
Religion and Theocracy Theme Icon
Rebellion Theme Icon
Nick winks at Offred, which alarms her. She doesn’t understand the gesture, which is a risky... (full context)
Chapter 8
Rebellion Theme Icon
At Offred’s house, Nick polishes the Commander’s Whirlwind. The red tulips look like empty chalices, and Offred doesn’t understand... (full context)
Chapter 10
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Rebellion Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
...her face with the curtain, she sees the Commander go out to his car, with Nick standing by. She imagines throwing something out the window at the Commander, then remembers dropping... (full context)
Chapter 14
Fertility Theme Icon
Rebellion Theme Icon
Cora, Rita and Nick enter. Nick touches his foot to Offred’s. Nick touches again and Offred moves again, unsure... (full context)
Chapter 17
Fertility Theme Icon
Rebellion Theme Icon
Offred carefully walks downstairs and resolves to steal a daffodil. She hears Nick’s footsteps. They’re both breaking the rules. They touch each other. Offred longs to do more,... (full context)
Chapter 18
Love Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Offred lies in bed, disturbed and aroused by her encounter with Nick. She remembers spending time with Luke when she was pregnant. She feels too dead to... (full context)
Chapter 23
Rebellion Theme Icon
At nine pm, Offred goes to meet the Commander in his office, as Nick previously instructed her. Offred is powerfully aware of the illegality of this action, and how... (full context)
Chapter 25
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Rebellion Theme Icon
Offred and the Commander continue to meet in secret, when Nick signals, either by polishing the car when Offred walks by, or wearing his hat incorrectly.... (full context)
Chapter 28
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Back in the present time, Offred watches Nick go out into the garden, and admires his body. She sees his hat is askew,... (full context)
Chapter 31
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Rebellion Theme Icon
...(Janine) got pregnant by a doctor, and Warren’s Wife knew. Serena Joy explains she thought Nick might be suitable. (full context)
Chapter 36
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Rebellion Theme Icon
Nick drives Offred and the Commander. Offred can’t tell what Nick thinks of all this, and... (full context)
Chapter 39
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...the Ceremony, so she must be back by midnight to have her first sex with Nick. She exits the bathroom and joins the Commander on the bed. He touches Offred, but... (full context)
Chapter 40
Rebellion Theme Icon
...at midnight and leads her through the house, and gives her instructions on getting to Nick’s apartment over the garage. Offred wonders what measures Serena Joy has taken against the night... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Nick’s room is unadorned and military-seeming. He smokes a cigarette and Offred wants to get naked... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
...backs up, saying “I made that up.” She gives us the real version of events. Nick opened the door and offered her a drag of his cigarette. He looks at her... (full context)
Chapter 41
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Rebellion Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Offred describes how she started to spend a lot of time with Nick, without Serena Joy’s endorsement. She did it for selfish reasons, always thankful to him for... (full context)
Rebellion Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...through the Commander’s papers. But Offred barely pays attention to Ofglen, distracted by thoughts of Nick. Offred tells Ofglen that she’s afraid of getting caught, but really she doesn’t want to... (full context)
Chapter 46
Rebellion Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...house. Two men come out and ring the doorbell. Offred regrets not having killed herself. Nick enters her room, and she hates him, thinking he might have been an Eye all... (full context)
Historical Notes on the Handmaid’s Tale
Fertility Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
...created as a weapon). He relates the difficulty of finding anything more about Offred, Luke, Nick, Moira or Janine, as those may have been fake names. He suspects that Offred might... (full context)
Rebellion Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
...after Offred’s departure, for owning banned magazines and books and for hosting a rebel, probably Nick. Nick was probably an Eye as well as a member of the Resistance. Though the... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
...society. After Ofglen’s death, when it was clear the authorities knew about the local Resistance, Nick could have killed Offred to protect himself, but he got her to escape with the... (full context)
Chapter 30
Rebellion Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Offred sits by the window at night. She sees Nick in the garden, and he sees her in the window, a romantic moment they can’t... (full context)