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The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale


by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale Chapter 46 Summary


  • The narrator waits in her room, for what she doesn't know. She feels rather peaceful because at least something is happening, even if it's terrible.
  • Night falls.
  • The narrator thinks about her options: she could set fire to the house, try to break her unbreakable window, approach the Commander, kill herself, kill Serena Joy, try to walk out authoritatively, go to Nick...
  • Mainly she's tired, and none of these seem like good options.
  • She looks out the window and imagines the night is winter. She pictures her predecessor swinging by her noose.
  • Then she sees a black van coming for her.
  • She thinks she should have grabbed some kind of weapon while she had the chance.
  • Nick comes to her room. He tells her the van is Mayday and calls her by her real name.
  • She doesn't know whether to believe him or not, but she has no choice.
  • Two Eyes escort her down the stairs. She passes the Commander and Serena Joy. The Commander is sad but trying to keep away. Serena Joy wants to know what happened.
  • The narrator realizes this isn't Serena Joy's punishment; it's something else.
  • The Commander asks for a warrant. The narrator realizes this is a pivotal point; if the Eyes are not government, they'd have to leave. But even then she'd still be stuck where she is.
  • One of the Eyes says they don't have it with them, but that the narrator has been spying and that they're authorized to take her.
  • The Commander, Serena Joy, Rita, and Cora seem furious with the narrator and think she's put them all in some kind of jeopardy.
  • The men take the narrator out to the van and she gets in, not knowing whether she's about to be rescued or killed.

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