Offred calls herself one of the "ladies in reduced circumstances." She finds herself objectified; she is a breeder.
She is washed, brushed, and fed "like a prize pig," Offred feels. Then, too, she must spend a lot of "blank time." She tells herself that she must be patient as Luke will find her sooner or later. She longs for the small talk and companionship that she always had with her friends. Now she is treated very impersonally as she is meant only for childbirth.
But after she gives birth to a healthy girl, the Commander begins to treat her with some personal attention, and Offred feels like a person again. Then, although it is against the rules, the Commander invites Offred to play Scrabble with him. "So that's what's in the forbidden room," Offred surmises. She controls her emotions as she answers, "All right."
They play two games, and Offred spells these words: Valance, Quinze, Zygote, Limp, and Gorge.
Since windows only open part-way and there is no escape, Offred may think of a valance, a partial covering for a window, as a similar concept. She can see through the window, but part of the view is blocked just as escape is blocked through such a window.
Quince is a pome fruit related to the pear and apple. Some scholars think that the quince was the forbidden fruit that Eve ate and gave to Adam. Also, Greek legend has it that Paris gave Aphrodite a quince as a prize in a beauty contest, an action that began the Trojan War.
Offred feels herself involved in a power conflict and a war of the spirit.
A zygote is a cell that is formed when a sperm and an egg combine, thus forming a fertilized egg. It therefore contains the genetic information needed to form a new individual. This word is relevant to the very recent birth of Offred's daughter.
Perhaps Offred feels that her spirit has become limp, without energy, in her forced position in life.
Offred narrates that she has the letter C and spells Crisp, "slightly acid on the tongue, delicious."
Playing this game, using her mind, and being treated as an equal to the Commander is a "delicious" and delightful experience. So often Offred now has "blank time," and she misses intellectual stimulation.