In this section of The Handmaid’s Tale, we were able to witness the birth of Janine’s (Ofwarren) child. While this ceremony was interesting, I feel that the most interesting part of this section was the interaction between Offred and her Commander. In this chapter, the Commander summoned Offred to his study, something that is highly illegal in Gilead, for something very simple: to play a game of Scrabble. Offred debates going because of the illegality of the act, but decides it is far worse to disobey a Commander than it is to follow the law. What follows in this scene isn’t some commanding punishment or order, but rather just the Commander wanting to play a game with Offred.
I thought it was very interesting when the Commander started the conversation with “Hello,” something that Offred herself acknowledges as being the “old way” of talking. Then when the game is finished, all the Commander asks is for a kiss. This scene was really sad in a sort of way because the Commander seemed to just be lonely or empty, and almost seems like he feels bad for how things are in Gilead. The most important part about this scene is that it really brings to light that just because he is labeled as a “Commander,” doesn’t mean he is the one who wields the power in Gilead. Rather, these Commanders are just as under the control of the laws of Gilead as anyone else. I am interested to see where Offred’s interactions with her Commander go from here.