The Handmaid's Tale Chapters 13-18: Summary and Analysis

Margaret Atwood

Chapters 13-18: Summary and Analysis

Chapter 13 - Summary
Remembering when she could walk through art galleries, Offred recalls certain nineteenth-century paintings of Oriental harems, calling them pictures of “suspended animation, about waiting,” precisely what her life is now.

This reminds her of reading about “pig balls,” toys made for pigs to play with, to overcome their boredom as they are fattened for the slaughter. She also remembers learning in a college psychology course about rats that would give themselves electric shocks to have something to do. Clearly, she can relate to both of these.

She wonders if the Handmaid-trainees at the Red Center were drugged to make them so lethargic. How else could they have endured...

(The entire section is 2324 words.)