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Agnes (Novels)
This article is about Agnes, the adopted Daughter of Commander Kyle and his Wife Tabitha. You may be looking for the (unnamed) daughter of Offred and Luke.  See also: Disambiguations/Mother of Agnes and Nicole for identity issues.

Agnes Jemima, or just Agnes, is one of the narrators in The Testaments. She is the adopted Daughter of a Commander and his Wife Tabitha. She later becomes an Aunt, and is referred to by her rank as Aunt Victoria. Her story is chronicled as the "Transcript of Witness Testimony 369A"; researchers speculate she could be the displaced daughter of the Handmaid Offred[1].  (Disambiguations/Mother of Agnes and Nicole)

NameEdit

Tabitha teaches Agnes that her name means "lamb." This not entirely untrue; Agnes actually derives from a Greek name meaning "holy" or "pure", but is associated with St. Agnes of Rome, who in art is depicted with a lamb as the Greek "Agnes" (Ἁγνή) is often conflated with the Latin "agnus" (lamb).

Jemima is an Arabic and Hebrew name meaning "little dove." In the Bible, Jemima was one of the three daughters of Job and she and her sisters were described as the most beautiful women in the land. She was born to Job after God killed his first set of children and took away all his prosperity. This name may foreshadow her being an Aunt, as Aunt Jemima is a famous pancake mix.

Her Aunt name, Victoria, means victory, and is chosen as a reference to Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. Due to Aunts' names referring to things appealing to women, it may also be a reference to Victoria's Secret, a lingerie company.

ProfileEdit

Agnes considers herself to not be very pretty, having a "dough face," "raisin eyes" and "pumpkin-seed teeth."

StoryEdit

In the PastEdit

Before GileadEdit

Agnes has no memory to the time before her adoption, though she must have been born prior to the rise of Gilead. She recalls running through a forest with someone holding her hand.[2]

Early Gilead Period Edit

Agnes has been adopted by a Commander and his Wife, Tabitha, and renamed Agnes. When she is 6 or 7 years old, her new mother tells her a story of saving her from a witch, which she doens't question since she has no memory to the time before. She has a doll's house with a book shelf where the pages are blank - she is taught to believe that books are simply decorations, like vases[2].

At school, Agnes is taught Religion by the fearsome Aunt Vidala and taught Crafts by the pleasant Aunt Estée. Despite Estée's assurances of her parents arranging for a good husband in time, Agnes grows up believing Vidala's warnings about men. She regularly has nightmares, and dreads her future marriage as she grows up[3].

When she is old enough to understand what pregnancy is, she asks Tabitha if she came from her stomach rather than being saved by the witches - believing that Tabitha is her biological mother, yet Tabitha does not answer her[4].

Middle Gilead Period Edit

Her best friend, Shunammite, tells Agnes that Tabitha is dying only two days before Tabitha passes away[5].

At her mother's funeral, she is introduced to a Widow, Paula Saunders, who her father marries several months later. Her father and step-mother are assigned a Handmaid, Ofkyle, who soon falls pregnant.

When going for a dental checkup, Agnes is sexually assaulted by Dr. Grove. Agnes reaches menarche just before Ofkyle dies in childbirth, while the baby, a boy named Mark, survives. She is shunned at school due to a superstition among Daughters that girls whose Handmaids die are cursed.

Commander Kyle and Paula plan to marry Agnes to Commander B. Frederick Judd. As the wedding approaches, Agnes is filled with dread, and contemplates suicide. Eventually, Aunt Lydia catches wind of Agnes's feelings, and asks her to reach out to Aunt Estée if she wishes to become a Supplicant of the Aunts. Agnes makes her way to her old school, and finds sanctuary at Ardua Hall. Aunt Lydia convinces Kyle and Paula to sign her over to the Aunts, and she is reunited with her friend, Becka - now called Aunt Immortelle - who also joined the Aunts due to trauma caused by sexual assault. Her best friend, Shunammite, is arranged to marry Judd in her place. Agnes takes the name Aunt Victoria and spends nine years as a Supplicant.

Present Time Edit

Shortly before she is ready to be elevated to a Pearl Girl, she is instructed to settle a Canadian homeless girl - Jade - who has come to Gilead as a "Pearl." Agnes is unaware that Jade is the legendary Baby Nicole, who, in turn, is her biological half-sister.

ReferencesEdit

  1. The Testaments, Epilogue: The Thirteenth Symposium
  2. 2.0 2.1 II Precious Flower, Section 2
  3. II Precious Flower, Section 3
  4. II Precious Flower, Section 4
  5. II Precious Flower, Section 5
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