The Handmaid's Tale chapter summaries

  • Created by: Eeh16
  • Created on: 30-04-22 21:44
Chapter 1
There's a group of women trapped in the gymnasium guarded by the Aunts (carrying electric cattle prods). Outside there's a fence- guarded on the inside by Guards and on the outside by Angels who are facing outwards.
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Chapter 2
The narrator takes stock of the bedroom (shatterproof glass in the window). Walks downstairs through the sitting room, looking at all the different old positions (archaic), and into the kitchen where Rita is. Rita gives tokens to the narrator to take to t
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Chapter 3
The narrator walks out into the garden (the commander's wife's domain). Flashes back to 5 weeks earlier when she first met the commander's wife (SJ). When they meet in the doorway, before she can be admitted into the house, SJ acts in a hostile way. We le
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Chapter 4
Narrator leaves the garden w/ Ofglen on her way & meets eyes with Nick. Walk to the grocery store 'MIlk and Honey'. See another handmaid that's pregnant (Janine). Passing beneath soldiers with machine guns, Ofglen talks about the war & rebels & how they'r
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Chapter 5
Narrator and Ofglen visit the grocery store 'Milk and Honey'. They go to 'All flesh' (another grocery store). As she's looking at the meat and the animals, the narrator has a flashback to Luke and her daughter. She buys her chicken and leaves the store. O
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Chapter 6
Narrator and Ofglen take a walk and pass around the church and end up at the wall. Hanging on the wall are the bodies of men with bags on their heads. One of the dead doctors has a red smile from the blood dripping from his mouth.
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Chapter 7
Series of flashbacks. The night is her time. Flashback to the college dorm with Moira, walking to the park with her mother where she witnesses a book burning and remembers her daughter being taken from her.
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Chapter 8
Narrator sees three new bodies on the wall- a priest and 2 gender traitors. Groups of econowives. returns to the house- SJ still in the garden and Nick still washing the car. Rita prods at the chicken. Upstairs Offred is ambushed by the Commander.
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Chapter 9
Narrator flashes back to her time with Luke. She finds Latin graffiti and asks Rita about this.
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Chapter 10
Narrator starts by singing amazing grace and then a pop song (romantic ballad). Thinks about how Rita hums and SJ sings with her faded voice. Flashback to the good times she had with Moira. Narrator watches out of her bedroom window as Nick and the Comman
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Chapter 11
Narrator is taken to the gynecologist office- the doctor propositions her.
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Chapter 12
The narrator is bathed by Rita and has a flashback to being in a grocery store and a woman trying to kidnap her daughter. She dresses and is forced to eat a dinner that she made for her. She keeps some butter and tells us she's going to use it later.
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Chapter 13
Narrator remembers a scene from the reeducation centre. Moira turns up and they are able to communicate in the bathroom stalls. Janine is made to recount her experience of being gang-***** and is made to victim blame herself. a succession of quick flashba
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Chapter 14
Offred, SJ, and Rita (all the women in the household) gather in the sitting room and wait for the commander. He arrives and immediately stands too close to the narrator, touches her foot, and cracks a joke. Watch a news report and learn about a Christian
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Chapter 15
Commander comes down to the sitting room and reads from genesis. SJ begins to cry which foreshadows what's coming in the ceremony. flashback to Moira being brought back to the Red Centre- her feet are beaten and bruised.
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Chapter 16
The ceremony takes place- Offred is fully clothed except for her undergarments, laying on her back and having intercourse with the Commander. SJ who is behind Offred with her knees on either side and is squeezing her very hard.
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Chapter 17
Narrator moisturises using butter and slips down her bedroom downstairs where she wants to steal something. She's surprised by Nick in the sitting room who tells her that the Commander wants to see her in his office.
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Chapter 18
Offred lies in bed pondering ex-lover Luke-whether he's still alive and imagines a number of scenarios for him.
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Chapter 19
Offred eats an egg for breakfast and is interrupted by the birth mobile. It has come to take them to the birth day where Janine is going to be giving birth.
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Chapter 20
Offred is at Janine's labour. She has a series of flashbacks- digressions about her own mother's experience of the 2nd wave feminist movement and of Aunt Lydia in the Red Centre giving a harsh and radical critique of old films and ***********.
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Chapter 21
Narrator is already at the birth. A group of handmaids sit around chanting and encouraging her to give birth. Offred recalls her prior life where she was giving birth to her own daughter. The handmaids also use this time to gossip. Finally, they share a d
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Chapter 22
Offred returns to the household. Flashback to the Red Centre- Janine is asked by Aunt Lydia to be the inside spy among the handmaids- Moira has already escaped.
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Chapter 23
Narrator is exhausted and goes to sleep. Has a dream of the past. She's awoken by Cora who is excited that Offred will too have a baby. With SJ out of the house, celebrating, the Commander invites Offred to his room where they play scrabble. At the end, O
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Chapter 2


The narrator takes stock of the bedroom (shatterproof glass in the window). Walks downstairs through the sitting room, looking at all the different old positions (archaic), and into the kitchen where Rita is. Rita gives tokens to the narrator to take to t

Card 3


Chapter 3


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Chapter 4


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Card 5


Chapter 5


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