Women in Gilead abide by the laws enforced upon handmaids. As they slave away and struggle to find their place in society. Those who ridicule them, are above them. Love is seen as unnecessary, as it has “nothing” to do with bring offspring to Gilead. Offred is a handmaid and their main purpose is reproduction. They are seen as mindless “dolls” as they are not treated as human beings, rather they are seen as “baby making.”
Back in chapter 16, Offred performed the ceremony with the commander. The act of intercourse is seen only as a duty to perform. Many consider this act as rape, but Offred is given no other plausible choice, but to abide by the rules. Those who do not follow the rules, are sent away. Either they stay “safe” within Gilead or get sent away, is up to the handmaid. Given these circumstances, I believe that this is the best way to find more about her missing daughter. Our protagonist has to kiss up to those above her in the hierarchy. Many questions remain unanswered and getting closer to the commander is one way to find out more about Gilead. “Whatever there is to know.” I say; but that’s too flippant. “What’s going on” (Atwood 188).
In chapter 23, we see that the commander wishes to see Offred in private. But why does the commander – who saw the ceremony only as a duty to perform, would want to see a handmaid? Further proof is that on page 135, the commander wanted a kiss from Offred. She understands that seeing the commander is wrong because her duty is to reproduce. But to disobey the commander would lead to more trouble because he is literally the household. “But to refuse to see him could be worse. There’s no doubt about who holds the real power” (136). Margaret Atwood builds up this intense vibe, where the commander wants to see Offred in private, only to find it that he wanted to play scramble with her.
I also found it hilarious that all the suspense, hype was built up, just to play scramble. Offred is able to “stretch her legs” as she is able to spell words in the scramble games. I find it comical that the commander acts like a shy, pompous child. He first viewed the ceremony as a duty and now he wants spend more time with her. More importantly on page 140, he wanted her to kiss her with true intent. My initial reaction is, “Wow! This guy may be in love with Offred.” Many thoughts came into mind, where maybe the commander sees her now in a new light. He doesn’t just see her as a baby maker, but rather he views her as a potential human being.
Furthermore, the commander on page 162, is getting really close up with Offred. He seeks for more physical contact and doesn’t realize that there will be consequences if they are see by Serena. But the interaction between Offred and her commander is developing more into a relationship. Those human emotions are seen as blasphemy in Gilead and here the commander is displaying it. Even though he abides by the rules, they cannot control human emotion internally. She is slowly being treated as a equal, a human being.