Study Guide

The Handmaid's Tale Chapter 36

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Chapter 36


  • That night the narrator has to visit the Commander again. When she goes into his study, he's already started drinking. He tells her that he has a surprise for her.
  • The Commander takes out a present for the narrator and makes her guess what it is. When she can't, he reveals that it's a racy feminine outfit.
  • The narrator thinks about how those were all supposed to have been confiscated and burned, like the books. At first she protests about wearing it, but then gets kind of excited because of the danger.
  • He tells her to put on some makeup and that he's taking her out.
  • The dress isn't that flattering, and the makeup's not great, but the narrator makes it work. She's shy and the Commander is excited.
  • He gets out one of Serena Joy's cloaks and tells the narrator she's going to have to pretend she's a Wife when they go through the checkpoints. He has a fake pass for her and everything.
  • They drive through the night, and the narrator doesn't know where they're going.
  • Nick drives them but he doesn't acknowledge her, even though she's curious about what he's thinking. They get through the checkpoints with no problem. When they get to their destination, the Commander tells the narrator to lie down on the floor of the car while they go through the gateway.
  • They get through and arrive in the back of a building, in an alley. The Commander tells Nick to come back for them and takes off the narrator's cloak. Then he puts a tag around her wrist and leads her in.
  • The narrator thinks she looks silly, but it's too late. Moira would've called her stupid.

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