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Publisher's Summary

Note: This is an unofficial summary and analysis of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. This summary and analysis is not endorsed by or affiliated with Margaret Atwood.

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The narrator of the book is an unnamed woman throughout the length of the novel. In the start of the book, the narrator is kept inside a high school's gymnasium (The Rachel and Leah Center, informally known as The Red Center) and several other females are also there. Aunt Elizabeth and Aunt Sara serve as guards and discipline them. While these two utilize cattle prods to intimidate, other guards possess guns. The women have to stay in the gym except for the walks they are allowed to take twice a day. The school's field is shielded by barbed wire and male guards known as Angels.

The women are forbidden from talking among themselves and exchange names via lip-reading. Subsequently, the narrator is inside a room that is white and scarcely furnished. The room does not contain anything that can be utilized as a weapon. As she hears a bell, the narrator changes into red attire engulfing her entire frame. A shade covers her face. She descends the stairs with her shopping basket. The narrator enters the kitchen and receives some tokens from Rita, the cook. Rita is a 'Martha' and dressed in green. The name of the cleaner is Cora. The narrator wants to have conversations with the two like they do with each other but the Marthas are not supposed to have conversations with her kind. She remembers Luke. Rita orders the narrator to go to the market.

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