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The Handmaid's Tale | Study Guide

Margaret Atwood

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The Handmaid's Tale | Chapter 33 : Jezebel's | Summary



Offred goes with Ofglen to the Prayvaganza, where young women will be given away in arranged marriages. On the way, she remembers picking flowers with her daughter.

While there, the women are separated by ropes into their stations: Wives, Handmaids, Marthas, and Econowives. Offred learns from Ofglen that Janine's baby is "a shredder" and that it is not her first baby with deformities. She recalls that Janine had an episode while at the Red Center during which she stared into space and talked to herself. Moira slapped and shook her to return Janine to her senses. Moira warned Offred that she may need to help Janine on another occasion. Offred realized that Moira was probably arranging for another escape.


Janine blames herself for the fact that her baby has defects, in the same way that she blamed herself for miscarrying and being raped. Offred interprets this tendency to assume the role of victim as Janine's way of trying to find purpose and meaning in her life. Taking the blame for her baby's defects gives Janine a sense of acting for effect. Although these imagined actions cause harm, they are still actions. Janine's warped logic, which keeps her subservient, is an effect of her indoctrination.

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