The Handmaid’s Tale Short Summary
“The Handmaids Tale” is the sixth novel by Margaret Atwood. It was published for the first time in 1985 and has received several awards. It is set in a time where the US has collapsed, and the rule is called Gilead republic. It is an account of the narrator Offred and her experiences during and before the time.
The Plot in Brief
There is a low fertility rate, and fertile women are being imprisoned and getting forced to reproduce for the high rank of society. They are the handmaids. Offred gets assigned to a commander and his wife, where she is to abide by strict rules.
During each month when she is likely to conceive, there is a ceremony whereby Offred has to have intercourse with the commander to conceive a child who would be considered the family of the commander and Joy, his wife.
Offred often thinks of life before the Gilead came into power. She had a husband and a daughter. She and her husband Luke tried to escape with her daughter but got caught. They were separated, and Offred does not know where her family is. Moira, her friend, escapes the Centre.
Offred breaks routine on orders from the commander, and they become close to the point she kisses him goodnight every night. Offred is not pregnant yet, and they start suggesting the commander is infertile. She is instructed to have intercourse with Nick.
Offred finds out that her friend Moira was living as a prostitute. The commander takes Offred to the brothel. Offred fakes the experience for the commander’s sake. She is later sent to Nick, and sex with him is passionate. She starts sneaking to meet Nick, and they start a risky relationship.
A mob of women executes a man accused of rape as was the rule. Offred becomes confronted by Serena about the incident at the brothel, and this presents a danger. A black van arrives to take her away, the commander is surprised, and his wife is angry. Nick had told Offred that the van would lead her to freedom. Offred is not sure where she is being taken.