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No one is happy

The most interesting part of this section for me were the continuous references to the alliances between groups. In class we talked about the inability to rid of human nature. In this section we are reminded of this by the continuing underground communication between the handmaids. I think about the similar bond the handmaid’s have to students or prisoners. As they all exist in this oppressive environment together, they find ways to communicate and share information which is forbidden. We see the disconnect between power structures when Aunt Lydia questions Janine about Moira’s escape. Although there must be some Handmaids who have information on Moira, Aunt Lydia will probably never find that information because of the strong bond between the Handmaid’s, built in this oppressive state. Ultimately they all hate the system and take any liberty to defy it without being caught. 

The second part I want to highlight is the interaction between Offred and the Commander. This scene highlights another instance of the inability to prevent humans from being entirely disciplined. Both the Commander and Offred know what they are doing could end in punishment, however the natural lust seems to drive Offred’s curiosity and the commander’s insistence. With the knowledge that everyone is lonely in this environment, the Commander invites her in his private room with hope that he can find some meaningful relationship. Such a simple act as playing a game of Scrabble can ignite emotions of the past which are now deemed useless and even sinful.  

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  1. Michael Paul Michael Paul

    I would love to agree with you fully on your prediction of a united front by the Handmaids and that they all have the liberty to defy authority, but realistically, I think their situation is a lot more nuanced. It is easy for us to see that as a possibility, being the reader, but even Offred acknowledges throughout this portion of the book that she cannot fully convey how she feels. Whether because of Stockholm Syndrom or fear of the Eye, I can foresee others, like Janine, acting in self-preservation at the expense of other Handmaids, but I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing.

  2. David Ataide David Ataide

    I really like the parts between the Commander and Offred because the story immediately seems happier. Knowing that Offred has this medium to let loose slightly and live like she used to in the United States immediately improves her mental state. I also like how its the Commander who desires a break from the New World Order as the Commander role is thought to be a position of power in this new Gilead.

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