The Handmaid’s Tale


Margaret Atwood

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on The Handmaid’s Tale makes teaching easy.

The Handmaid’s Tale: Chapter 45 Summary & Analysis

Offred is relieved that the old Ofglen killed herself before torture, which means that Offred’s secrets are safe. Still, Offred wonders if the new Ofglen is telling the truth. Walking back indoors, past Nick, Offred begins to panic, praying that she’ll be the perfect Handmaid, do anything that’s asked of her, so long as she doesn’t have to suffer or die. Now she truly understands Gilead’s power.
This is Offred’s conversion moment—the moment she surrenders to Gilead and gives up hope, just as Moira did. She scorned Janine for her easy surrenders, but now her panicked state resembles Janine’s.
Religion and Theocracy Theme Icon
Rebellion Theme Icon
Serena Joy comes angrily out of the house, and Offred knows she’s in trouble for something, though she doesn’t know what. Serena Joy shows her the blue cloak with makeup smeared on it, and the sequined leotard. Serena Joy orders Offred to go upstairs, and calls her a slut like the previous Handmaid. Offred realizes that Nick has stopped whistling.
As at the Particicution or at the Rachel and Leah Center, women are more likely to be punished by fellow women than by men. Rather than bonding together, women take part in Gilead’s sexist structure and oppress themselves. Serena Joy was willing to help Offred get pregnant and is willing (grudgingly) to allow Offred to have sex with the Commander for procreative purposes, but she sees Offred as a slut as soon as she learns of Offred’s personal connection to the Commander. It is not the sexual relationship that Serena Joy hates, it’s the personal relationship. And Gilead has transformed such relationships into criminal and shameful things.
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Rebellion Theme Icon