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MAY/JUNE The Handmaid's Tale > The end of the Handmaid's tale.

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message 1: by Noémie (new)

Noémie | 9 comments I've just finished the Handmaid's tale and I'm lost. I am wondering if I missed some things in the book is because of my age ( 17 years old), maybe I miss maturity. The end is for me a mistery.
Please help me to understand the end of this book.
Sorry for the bad english


message 2: by Gabby (new)

Gabby  Thorpe (diaryofabibliophagist) | 51 comments What is confusing you about it? Offred gets taken but you're not sure whether she's taken to the colonies or rescued and taken to a resistance base, and then the novel moves to a future time where Gilead (we can assume) has been overthrown and academics and historians are giving a lecture about the regime. We find out that Offred's story is like a 'found text' and the academics are analysing it.
The book is quite confusing at the end so you probably didn't particularly miss anything. Atwood left it deliberately unclear so that might just be what's confusing you :)


message 3: by Britt (new)

Britt | 123 comments Gabby wrote: "Atwood left it deliberately unclear so that might just be what's confusing you :) "

I think so too, Noémie. There's quite a big gap between the penultimate and final chapters, but the author has probably done this deliberately and left the ending open for interpretation.

It may help if you forget about it for a while and reread the end of the book, maybe in a week or two weeks time? The story will have had time to "rest" in your head and perhaps a second reading will allow your interpretation to be more clear?


message 4: by Noémie (new)

Noémie | 9 comments I finally understood what was a problem for me. It's the first time I read a book with no happy ending.


message 5: by Megan (new)

Megan Cheang | 97 comments I wish we had learned what had happened to Offred's other friend, the one who always tried to escape. Sorry, it's been a while since I read the book. I had borrowed it from the library.
There's so many questions as to what happened to other characters, like to the family Offred belonged to.


message 6: by Cat (new)

Cat Cat | 3 comments Megan wrote: "I wish we had learned what had happened to Offred's other friend, the one who always tried to escape. Sorry, it's been a while since I read the book. I had borrowed it from the library.
There's so ..."


Her friend remained in the brothel were the regime had assigned her. She showed no sign of thinking to leave there in her conversations with Offred. And the family is slightly mentioned in the ending, without specific details... This was a very unsatisfying book for me.😒


message 7: by Pam (last edited Nov 28, 2017 07:00AM) (new)

Pam | 1091 comments Mod
So to me, the friend is Moira was hailed as being some sort of hero for being able to escape the life of a handmaid. Offred thinks very highly of her and thinks about her when she has rebellious thoughts about escaping or leaving etc.

But Attwood has Moria recaptured as a Jezebel. And as a Jezebel Moria is seen as complacent by Offred who is starting to get a bit more rebellious herself. Moira gets all the booze and smokes she wants. She gets to live as a prostitute and it's one big party in comparison to the work Offred has to do. But she is still stuck as a cog in the world just like Offred. Her big heroics and escape didn't bring her to anything but a different form of imprisonment that Offreds.

And the point of that is to hearken back to one of the themes of the novel which is confinement vs freedom. What does freedom really mean? What is confinement?

"Truly amazing, what people can get used to, as long as there are a few compensations"

Or

"Freedom, like everything else, is relative. "

Attwood is comparing complacency with imprisonment. What made Moira such a firebrand ended. She no longer "fought" the system, she was broken and complacent with her place as a prostitute figuring that life outside was not worth it.

And I would argue that this is what makes Offred stronger or more rebellious than Moira. While she may have been a handmaid she still didn't let the bastards get her down and possibly achieved freedom that Moira didn't. Moira believed that it was enough to drink booze and do drugs, where as Offred knew it was her thoughts and her private passions that truly manifested itself as freedom.


message 8: by Katie (new)

Katie Taylor | 13 comments I know it's not going to be the same than if Margaret Atwood had written it herself, but Hulu are doing s second series of the Handmaids Tale. Atwood will hopefully have plenty of input to the script so we may indeed have an answer, which while it won't please everyone (it never will), we may get to see how Atwood would have finished the novel after all.


message 9: by Pam (last edited Nov 30, 2017 05:32AM) (new)

Pam | 1091 comments Mod
Katie wrote: we may get to see how Atwood would have finished the novel after all. ."

She did finish the novel. It's not as if she died in the writing process and had a ghost writer finish. It's nitpicking, I know, but Atwood finished the novel the way she wanted it finished. As readers, it's up to us to interpret why she did it this way and what it means.


message 10: by Katie (new)

Katie Taylor | 13 comments I know she finished it, but it will be interesting to see how she would have continued it. I don't know how much involvement she will have in the script.

I have no issue with the ending and very much like the way it was left. There have been a few books where the ending has left me frustrated because it has been left to the reader to decide what has happened ( The Crimson Petal and the White is one. I threw the book when I finished it.)

I don't know how they will continue the story.


message 11: by Pam (new)

Pam | 1091 comments Mod
Katie wrote: "I know she finished it, but it will be interesting to see how she would have continued it. ."

Gotcha :) Thanks for reiterating.


message 12: by Cyn (new)

Cyn | 80 comments What I liked about the ending is that it clarified many things (for example, the origin of the names of the Handmaids such as Offred or Ofglen which make allusion to the fact that those women were property of a certain man, which I related to the moment when women marry men and they take their last name) and theories of what could have happened to the protagonist. It also showed how the main speaker and the audience saw this woman and her story.


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