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The Handmaid's Tale | Study Guide

Margaret Atwood

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The Handmaid's Tale | Characters

Character Description
Offred Offred is the 33-year-old narrator of the story and the Handmaid to whom the title refers. Handmaids are women who, because they are capable of childbearing, are forced to conceive and give birth to children for the infertile wealthy. Read More
The Commander The Commander is a wealthy citizen of Gilead. Offred is his Handmaid. Read More
Serena Joy Serena Joy is the Commander's Wife. Before present-day Gilead, she was a religious celebrity and anti-feminist activist. Read More
Nick Nick is the nonchalant Guardian who serves the Commander but begins an illicit sexual relationship with Offred. Read More
Moira Moira is Offred's lesbian, feminist college friend. Her courage and sense of humor play a prominent role in Offred's memories. Read More
Aunt Elizabeth A member of the Aunt class, Aunt Elizabeth indoctrinates the Handmaids at the reeducation center, or Red Center.
Aunt Lydia A member of the Aunt class, Aunt Lydia indoctrinates the Handmaids at the reeducation center, or Red Center.
Cora Cora is a Martha, or housemaid, at the Commander's home who shows some sympathy toward Offred.
Janine Janine is a Handmaid who does whatever is necessary to make her life easier, even at the expense of other Handmaids. Renamed Ofwarren, she is with Offred and Moira in the Red Center and later gives birth to a baby who dies. Afterward, her mental state is compromised.
Luke Luke is Offred's husband and the father of her daughter in the pre-Gilead United States. His fate is unknown after the family is captured while trying to escape.
Offred's Daughter Offred's daughter is adopted by a wealthy couple after the family is captured.
Offred's Mother Offred's mother, a feminist activist, disappears mysteriously when the new Gilead regime takes charge.
Ofglen Ofglen is Offred's assigned partner for daily shopping. She introduces Offred to the Mayday resistance movement.
Professor James Darcy Pieixoto Professor Pieixoto is the keynote speaker in the "Historical Notes" section at the end of the novel. Pieixoto has apparently transcribed and sequenced The Handmaid's Tale from audio tapes.
Professor Maryann Crescent Moon This speaker in the final section of the novel introduces Professor James Darcy Pieixoto.
Rita Rita is the cook at the Commander's home who shows little sympathy toward Offred.
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