The Handmaid’s Tale: Parts XI-XV & Historical Notes

Finally finished the book, and I have to say, I am really disappointed on how the book ended. There isn’t and closure for the character Offred, does she get terminated or is she put in a different family? Her story is not over and if the author is planning on writing a second book, then I can understand but if this is it then I can’t except this ending. Of course this also leaves the reading with an imagination of what the ending could be, what might have happened to Offred, to NIck, to the commander and his wife. The ending of part fifteen gives us the scene where Offred is lead into the truck that will take Offred away for good, leaving the reader with this quote, “And so I step up, into the darkness within; or else the light.”(295). This quote on its own tells the reader that the character is now heading down into a deep dark place and to expect to suffer afterwards but the last portion seems to explain that not everything is as bad as it seems. That through it all she will find a better place, be it be in the after life or in a new home, in another family or outside this society.

While reading the Historical Notes, I have to say I am surprised to find out that these society actually existed in the US, more specifically in Maine. We get important information about the lifestyle of Americans from the guest speaker and begin to understand how the society really operated and how the handmaid’s became surrogate mothers for married couples, and even before the society took over, the country was already forcing limitations on the female will and also gave them rules to live by and aid couples just like in the old testament.

After reading the last few pages of the Historical notes, my theories were confirmed. Even the people who wrote this book have not a single clue on what happened with the Offred, “As for the ultimate fate of our narrator, it remains obscure. Was she smuggled over the border of Gilead, into what was then Canada, and did she make her way thence to England?” (310). This confirms what everyone has been thinking. Its because of the tapes of the narrator of this book that tells us the story inside the Gilead society. Giving every female their own unique name for each family the join so that the females have no identity and are just used for the need of reproduction.

I enjoyed reading the book, it was getting really interesting and I was looking forward to what might happen next. I especially happy that Offred found some form of love with Nick and that the wife was allowing them to have sex so that she may have a child. It is a bit sad when Offred starts to remember her husband and wonders if he can accept what she is doing. Yet, Offred rejoices in her choice of being with Nick before being taken away and never seeing him again. Seems poetic.

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