Study Guide

The Handmaid's Tale Chapter 41

By Margaret Atwood

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Chapter 41


  • The narrator apologizes for the story she's telling and wishes it were different. It's not positive enough and she's distracted. She would like to stop but can't.
  • She speaks to a possible reader, calling the reader "you" and saying that by telling the story she's keeping the possible reader around. This reader may or may not be Luke. She says she has to finish the story, in which she doesn't behave as well as she could.
  • The narrator continues visiting Nick, now without Serena Joy's help or knowledge. She gets sloppy and almost too brave. He keeps seeing her too, though.
  • Each time she visits, Nick welcomes her in after smoking. They undress and make love.
  • The narrator contrasts this with how she is around the Commander; with him she closes her eyes and with Nick she opens them. She focuses on remembering Nick because she's forgotten what Luke looks like.
  • The narrator is passionate about Nick. Each time they're together it could be the last. She feels protected even though by being there she's putting herself in danger. She gets comfortable and tells Nick things: her real name, her relationships with Ofglen and Moira, and her past. She doesn't talk about Luke.
  • Nick doesn't confide anything in return, but he listens.
  • The narrator thinks there's no way he would turn her in.
  • One day the narrator observes the growing flowers as she walks with Ofglen. Ofglen wants the narrator to spy on the Commander to get information, but the narrator is less interested.
  • She thinks of a conversation she had with Nick; she's hoping she's pregnant.
  • Ofglen says they can get her out if they need to, but she wants to stay with Nick. She is ashamed of this.
  • Cora hopes the narrator is pregnant. The narrator wonders if Cora and Rita know what she's been doing. She can tell Ofglen is conspiring with her less.

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