Skip to content

A Game of Manipulation

The interaction between Offred and The Commander was, to me, the most important part of this section. The Commander most likely believes that he has the power in this situation. He can enforce negative consequences on Offred if she does not obey so she, theoretically, has to meet him in his office even though she is hesitant to. The meeting seems to be just for The Commander’s pleasure. He likes Offred’s company and gets much joy out of spending time with her, even if they are just playing a board game.

Offred, however, ends up seeing this meeting as a chance for her to get what she wants. She makes The Commander feel comfortable and as if she is going to his office because she wants to. When The Commander asks Offred for a kiss when she leaves, it seems that there is a switch in who holds the sexual power. During the ceremony, The Commander has the power, but during this kiss, Offred realizes that she has the power because she has something that The Commander wants. Offred reflects on how Moira escaped and wishes she could do the same. She realizes that she must give in a little to The Commander’s wants in order to get what she wants in return. She makes a conscious decision to leave her past self behind and live both mentally and physically in Gilead. Offred has to please those in her household in order to have the opportunity to escape and find her family. If Offred acts in the rebellious way that she probably wants to, she will never have the chance to leave.

Published inUncategorized


  1. Nora Apt Nora Apt

    I think that power is definitely a point worth considering when looking at this scene. As Offred leaves the Commander’s office, he seems very vulnerable — choosing to momentarily forgo some of his power to fill what seems to be a sense of loneliness. Similar to as we noticed about Persepolis, it is in moments of rebellion that oppressed individuals feel a sense of freedom.

  2. Rachel Nugent Rachel Nugent

    Your discussion of how Offred chooses to live her life in the present and do what needs to be done sends my mind back to how Marji got married in Persepolis simply to better use the system to her advantage. It seems in this section, Offred is finally beginning to see the ways in which she can use her system to her advantage as well.

  3. Emma Joaquin Emma Joaquin

    I think your point about power is very interesting. It hadn’t occurred to me before this section that Offred had any power, but her power is in what she can offer to the Commander (fertility) and that is her bargaining chip in life.

  4. Michael Paul Michael Paul

    I like the idea you bring up about power through wanting. Generally, we think of power as something that is held over another person by brute force or out of fear. Here, we see a power shift through withholding something. Perhaps this is a way of saying that you can’t artificially create power imbalances without there being a backlash. Life is just a pursuit of balance and equality from the most basic molecular form to the most complex of interactions and this interaction between the Commander and Offred foreshadows a possible push against artificial resistance to returning to a resting state of balance that Gilead seems to lack.

Comments are closed.