Serena Joy



  • Commander's Wife
  • Elderly and childless
  • Was a former singing star and a media personality

Powerful female presence

  • Most powerful female presence in Offred's daily life in Gilead.
  • Offred observes her closely.
  • As an elderly, childless woman, she is forced to agree to the system of polygamy in Gilead and so Offred becomes her Handmaid.
    • Violation of her marriage.
    • Continual reminder of the way she is deteriorating physically.

Her former life

  • She spoke out for extreme conservative domestic policies which supported the idea that women's rightful place was in the home.
    • She now ironically suffers and is trapped in the ideology she supported.
    • Supposed to be a satirical representation of Phyllis Schlafly, an advocate for the Christian Right Movement during the 1980s; Tammy Faye Bakker, a woman who ran a gospel television show with her husband; Beverley LaHaye, a woman who organised demonstrations against abortions and the Equal Rights Amendement (ERA).

Parody of the virtuous woman

  • Her only place of power is in the living room.
  • She is estranged from her husband, jealous of her Handmaid and has nothing to do except knit scarves for soldiers and gossip with acquaintances, or listen to her young voice on


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