The Handmaid's Tale
by Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid's Tale Chapter 25 Summary
- The narrator wakes up the next day when Cora drops a tray and it smashes. She dropped the tray because she was startled to see the narrator asleep in the closet and was worried she was dead.
- An egg, part of the narrator's breakfast, fell on the floor when Cora dropped the tray. The narrator said she wasn't hungry, so Cora wouldn't have to explain how it fell or what happened. Cora is hopeful that the narrator's pregnant, but she's not. They have a short moment of unity.
- The narrator then says that was in May, and now a few months have passed. She observes Serena Joy's growing garden. She worries about summertime because it makes her want things more, compared to winter.
- Then the narrator describes how things are going between her and the Commander. They rendezvous in his office a couple of times a week. Each week it's different. She watches for signs from Nick to see if she should go or not.
- She has to be careful of Serena Joy. Sometimes she's out visiting friends, which makes things easier.
- On a side note, she says Commanders' Wives get sick a lot, while Handmaids and Marthas can't afford to. When Cora was really sick, she had to pretend to be well. Whenever Serena Joy visits a sick friend, the narrator has to go see the Commander.
- Then the narrator talks about those visits. It's kind of a letdown that the Commander wants to play Scrabble instead of asking for kinky sex, but in another way it's just as weird for her.
- He can't put his desires into words.
- The second time she goes to see him, they play two games of Scrabble again. Then he gives her a present: an old copy of Vogue magazine. The magazine is dangerous contraband. The narrator reflects on how she used magazines casually in the past.
- Although reading a magazine is forbidden, being in the Commander's room is even worse. The narrator reads the magazine, which she feels pleases the Commander. She asks him a few questions and realizes that he's interested in her because he and his wife have grown apart.
- The next time they meet she asks him for hand lotion. It takes a while but he gets some for her. He doesn't realize that she can't take it out of the room because someone else would find it. The narrator gets angry at this but has to keep it under control because she's at the Commander's mercy.
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