Study Guide

The Handmaid's Tale Chapter 33

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Chapter 33


  • That afternoon the narrator and Ofglen go to a Prayvaganza.
  • She thinks about how she misses dandelions and her daughter.
  • The narrator, Ofglen, and other Handmaids line up in twos and pass through a checkpoint. They pass the river and go into the building where the Prayvaganza is going to take place. It's in a large courtyard. Other Wives, Marthas, Econowives, and Handmaids are there too.
  • The women are separated by ropes into their various classes.
  • Ofglen and the narrator kneel at the back of their group so they can talk a little. Ofglen points the narrator's attention to Janine, who's come in looking sad and is assigned to a new household. Ofglen reveals that the baby Janine had wasn't right and didn't make it. It was Janine's second baby; her first (pre-Center) died in her eighth month of pregnancy. Janine seems totally defeated.
  • Then Ofglen hints that Janine used a doctor to get pregnant this time, and the narrator wonders if Ofglen knows about the conversation she had with Serena Joy. The narrator wonders how Ofglen might know this, if Serena Joy told somebody. But what can she do? She's already agreed.
  • Then the narrator has a flashback to the women's Center. In the flashback she realizes one morning that Janine isn't getting dressed like they are all supposed to.
  • She notifies Alma and they go over to try to get Janine dressed. Moira goes too—she's recovering from being beaten after her first escape attempt.
  • Janine has lost it and is talking like she's a waitress in pre-Center life. Moira slaps her and tells her to snap out of it, warning her that if she keeps talking like that she'll be done in. The people in charge will just get rid of her like trash.
  • This gets through to Janine and she starts moving, even though she's still crying. Moira tells the narrator that Janine is a loose cannon and the narrator might have to help her if Moira's not there.
  • The narrator realizes that at that point Moira was probably already planning another escape.

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