The Handmaid's Tale

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Offred: "I hunger to touch something, other than cloth or wood. I hunger to commit the act of touch."
The narrator transmutes her "hunger" for something edible, bread, to what would really nourish her: touch, and, correspondingly, love. She wants to touch and be touched, to remind herself of her body and of the feelings that can develop from that sor
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Offred: "When I saw that, the evidence left by two people, of love or something like it, desire at least, at least touch, between two people now perhaps old or dead, I covered the bed again and lay down on it."
This sign of love (or at least sex) depresses the narrator and she has to lie down. She does so on the bed where other people's love was expressed but where she will never experience it. She questions whether she'll ever know love again
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Offred: "I ought to feel hatred for this man. I know I ought to feel it, but it isn't what I do feel. What I feel is more complicated than that. I don't know what to call it. It isn't love."
Offred defines how she feels about the Commander in terms of what her feelings are not. They are not "love"; they are "more complicated" than that. She may feel guilty because she doesn't hate the Commander, but she doesn't love him either.
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Offred: "Something to fill the time, at night, instead of sitting alone in my room. It's something else to think about. I don't love the Commander or anything like it, but he's of interest to me, he occupies space, he is more than a shadow."
Sometimes it seems like there isn't room for love in a place like Gilead anymore. Earlier she defined her feeling for the Commander in terms of an absence of hatred. Now it's because he "occupies space", engages her interest: faint praise.
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Offred: "So Luke: what I want to ask you now, what I need to know is, Was I right? Because we never talked about it. By the time I could have done that, I was afraid to. I couldn't afford to lose you."
Offred questions her relationship with Luke, wondering how the social changes altered what was between them, and whether he had been complicit when her rights were removed. She wonders what this did to their love, though it's too late to ask now.
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Commander-Offred: "What did we overlook? Love, I said. Love? said the Commander. What kind of love? Falling in love, I said."
Offred reminds the Commander that they live in a society without love. The capacity for love is a huge part of how you form an identity and make a life. The Commander doesn't pick up on this, which emphasizes the great divide between them.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

This sign of love (or at least sex) depresses the narrator and she has to lie down. She does so on the bed where other people's love was expressed but where she will never experience it. She questions whether she'll ever know love again

Back

Offred: "When I saw that, the evidence left by two people, of love or something like it, desire at least, at least touch, between two people now perhaps old or dead, I covered the bed again and lay down on it."

Card 3

Front

Offred defines how she feels about the Commander in terms of what her feelings are not. They are not "love"; they are "more complicated" than that. She may feel guilty because she doesn't hate the Commander, but she doesn't love him either.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

Sometimes it seems like there isn't room for love in a place like Gilead anymore. Earlier she defined her feeling for the Commander in terms of an absence of hatred. Now it's because he "occupies space", engages her interest: faint praise.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

Offred questions her relationship with Luke, wondering how the social changes altered what was between them, and whether he had been complicit when her rights were removed. She wonders what this did to their love, though it's too late to ask now.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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