The Handmaid's Tale
by Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid's Tale Chapter 17 Summary
- Back in her room, such as it is, the narrator gets ready for bed. She takes the butter out of her shoe and uses it as a moisturizer. She says she does this whenever she gets the chance; it's a strategy she learned at the Center. By doing this, she keeps alive the hope that she might become free and reclaim her body.
- She lies on her bed but cannot fall asleep, so she goes to look out the window. She thinks about how much she misses Luke. She misses her old self and decides to steal something to remind herself of who she was.
- The narrator goes downstairs, even though this is breaking all kinds of rules. She is about to steal a flower from one of the vases – all she can manage – when she realizes she isn't alone.
- The door closes and she's trapped. A voice tells her not to shout, and she realizes it's Nick. They kiss, violently. Both would like to do more, but they know it's too dangerous.
- The narrator tries to tell herself that Luke wouldn't mind if she enjoyed being touched, but she knows it's not true.
- Nick tells her the Commander wants to "see [her]" in his office the next day. The narrator's not sure what that means, but they separate and she goes back upstairs.
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