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Characters

Meet the Cast

The Narrator (Offred)

An EverywomanThe narrator is definitely the most significant character in the novel – she's the Handmaid telling this tale, and we experience the world of Gilead through her eyes. But how well do...

Moira

After ordinary life is interrupted and destroyed, the narrator loses everything. She never sees her husband, her daughter, or mother again. The one person she ever sees again from her old life is M...

Serena Joy

Serena Joy is neither serene nor joyful. Then again, Serena Joy isn't her real name. In a novel full of characters referred to by pseudonyms, Serena Joy seems to stand out because she's chosen her...

The Commander

In a way, the Commander is the most naïve character in the book. This is ironic given how much power he has. But, maybe you have to be naïve to succeed in Gilead (not to mention lucky enough to...

Nick

Like Luke, Nick is a mystery, even though he exists in the narrator's present, instead of just in her memory. From the beginning, the narrator considers him to be a suspicious character: He's too c...

Luke

Luke exists only in the narrator's past. She struggles over whether to try to remember him or let him go. Should she keep up the hope of finding him alive, or give him up for dead? We never find ou...

Aunt Lydia

Sometimes Aunt Lydia seems to be the voice of the Women's Center, the voice of the Republic of Gilead. It's her voice the narrator hears over and over explaining the rules and consequences of this...

Ofglen

The narrator has only been at the Commander's house a short time, and she's only known Ofglen for part of that: "This woman has been my partner for two weeks. I don't know what happened to the one...

Janine

Janine shows up in the narrator's life during and after her time at the Center. She doesn't seem to have any friends. While the narrator knows Janine from the Center, the first time we meet her pr...

The Narrator's Daughter

The narrator's daughter is more important in the text for what she represents than for who she is. We never really get to know her at all. She's too young when she's abducted to speak in the narrat...

The Narrator's Mother

We only meet the narrator's mother in flashbacks, and we never learn her real name. She's important not only for the role she played in the narrator's life, but for what she tells us about how the...

Rita

Rita is one of the two Marthas assigned to the Commander's household, mainly in charge of cooking. She's strict, disapproves of the narrator, and doesn't want to get involved. It's not as though sh...

Cora

Cora is one of the two Marthas assigned to the Commander's household, primarily in charge of household cleaning and menial errands. She treats the narrator with more kindness than many of the other...

Aunt Elizabeth

Aunt Elizabeth is one of the women in charge at the Center. She doesn't make as big an impression on the narrator as Aunt Lydia does, and she seems to get stuck with bathroom guard duty quite frequ...

Professor James Darcy Pieixoto

Professor Pieixoto is the keynote speaker at the end of the book, in the "Historical Notes" section. He gives a talk about the narrator's story, which he has transcribed and formatted into The Hand...

Professor Maryann Crescent Moon

Professor Moon is one of the speakers at the end of the book, in the "Historical Notes" section. She lives in a post-Gilead world and introduces Professor Pieixoto at a seminar. Professor Moon clue...
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