Immediately upon finishing the last sections of The Handmaid’s Tale, I wanted to know what happens next. Offred leaves with the strangers led by Nick but there is no explanation where she is going. She doesn’t know either. From what she can tell she is going to be punished for going out with the Commander and Serena Joy finding the outfit she wore. I found it quite odd that both the Commander and Serena Joy were shocked when she was being led out by the strangers. Reading through you would expect them to call them as they did to Ofglen before she killed herself.
I was slightly confused to as what was happening to Janine. I wasn’t sure if she was pretending to have a mental illness to get out of the Red Center, or she actually “lost it” from losing several children to miscarriages. It seemed as if the Aunts and the Wives were looking “down on her” or at least that’s the vibe I got.
I think the Commander and Offred’s relationship also took a weird turn after she and Nick got involved. She definitely admitted to herself that she cannot replace Luke, but she also knows that she may not ever see him again. After she became involved with Nick I believe the Commander took almost a “backseat”, only with suggestions from Ofglen to gather information from him. I wasn’t surprised at all when Offred went out with the Commander against all rules because she wanted to break the monotony of living at the Red Center every day. This historical notes states that the center is probably named the “Rachel and Leah Re-education Center” (305).
The public Salvaging was shocking but I found the Particicution really crazy. It was probably set up this way so the Aunts could show the Handmaids what could happen to them if they broke the rules or did anything else that was forbidden. I couldn’t really figure out why Ofglen got in trouble, but I suppose it could have been when she mentioned the political involvement in the man who was salvaged by the handmaids. “He wasn’t a rapist at all, he was a political. He was one of ours. I knocked him out.” (260) Ofglen said to Offred about the man. Perhaps someone had overhead and reported it, which may indicate that said salvaging may have been politically motivated and not criminally motivated after all.
All in all I found it a pretty enjoyable story but I was disappointed in the end to not know what the ultimate outcome would have been for Offred. It could have been ultimately leading up to her death or Nick’s “friends” may have come to save her. I also think clearly we didn’t get the entire story, or accurately through Offred’s perspective as throughout she admits that some parts are fabricated or left some of the good events out.