Chapters 1-6: Summary and Analysis

Chapter 1 - Summary
New Characters:
Offred: a newly assigned Handmaid, and the narrator
Aunt Elizabeth and Aunt Sara: guards at the Re-Education Center, armed with electric cattle prods

It is night at the Rachel and Leah Re-education (Red) Center in the heartland of the Republic of Gilead. The Center, housed in a former high school, is where young white women are prepared for their role as replenishers of the population, Handmaids. On her army cot in the dormitory, once the school gym, Offred muses about what the room must have been like before Gilead.

She thinks about the basketball games played here, and how it must have looked decorated for school dances: the excitement, the...

(The entire section is 3210 words.)