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The Handmaid's Tale | Study Guide

Margaret Atwood

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The Handmaid's Tale | Chapter 44 : Salvaging | Summary



Offred eats lunch and goes to meet Ofglen to do their shopping. However, Ofglen has been replaced with another Handmaid. Unsure of the new Ofglen's loyalties, Offred tries the Mayday signal, but Ofglen does not respond positively. Offred fears that this development means she might be in danger. As they part, the new Ofglen tells her that the old Ofglen commited suicide by hanging when she saw the black van approaching to take her away.


Things escalate quickly as the day progresses. The morning's Salvaging and Particicution are over, but Offred's paranoia is heightened when Ofglen does not appear, and she evaluates the new Ofglen as treacherous. She fears the punishment that comes to lawbreakers. She fears for her daughter. Yet as they part, the new Ofglen reveals the information about the old Ofglen. In this, there is a sense of history repeating—the new Ofglen seems pious, but she may be a part of the resistance.

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