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The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale

by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale Chapter 14 Summary

Household

  • The bell keeps ringing and the narrator goes into the sitting room, which she describes as weirdly, domestically furnished and reflecting a great deal of wealth.
  • The room's smells remind her of young girls, and she wishes she could take something secretly to hide in her own room.
  • She sits in her assigned position and waits for other people to come in.
  • Rita and Cora come in grudgingly. The narrator thinks it's her fault. Nick enters too. The narrator thinks his foot touches hers but isn't sure. Then Serena Joy comes in.
  • While they're waiting, Serena Joy turns on the TV. The narrator is excited by the rare opportunity to watch the news. She reveals that it's the only positive aspect of nights like this, which have Ceremonies.
  • The news program reveals the war is still going, but only shows wins for the side in charge. In the Appalachians, Baptists are being persecuted and a prisoner has been caught.
  • The narrator tries not to believe the news anchor, who looks like a nice old man. He says a spy ring has been cracked and Quakers have been captured. This is followed by an image of Detroit, where over 3,000 people are being resettled – the narrator doesn't know why.
  • Serena Joy turns off the TV, and the narrator has a flashback.
  • In the flashback the narrator has a real name. She doesn't reveal what it is, but it's not the same as her name in this household: Offred. She treasures her old name and hopes to have it back someday.
  • The narrator tries not to cry while she remembers herself and Luke trying to escape with their daughter. They said they were going on a picnic, but actually they have forged papers and are trying to cross the border. This is illegal and very dangerous.
  • On their way to the border, they get through the first inspection without a problem. As they keep going, the narrator worries, even though Moira would have told her not to. Luke seems happy and relieved, which makes the narrator even more concerned.

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