Offred's Mother (Novel)

Offred's mother is a supporting character in The Handmaid's Tale. Before the rise of Gilead, she was a staunch second-wave feminist and women's rights activist. She was photographed working on a toxic waste farm most likely as a slave it is still unknown if she is alive.




Offred's mother seemed to have a low opinion of men for what she saw as their oppression and abuse of women, and was a firm, almost militant supporter of the women's rights movement. She was heavily involved in the movement as a young woman, including participating in Take Back the Night marches and pro-choice rallies. Offred's mother wanted a child but was uninterested in getting married. She slept with Offred's father solely to get pregnant and allowed him to be as involved as he wanted to be.


Before Gilead Edit

Offred's mother marches in feminist rallies. She gives birth to Offred in her late thirties and chose to be a single mother. [1]

As a child, Offred goes to a park with her mother, where they meet a group of women and a few men burning pornographic magazines. [2]

Offred’s mother likes to watch historical programs, and always explains them carefully to Offred, even when she was too young to understand. One program is a documentary about the Holocaust in which the former mistress of one of the Nazi guards is interviewed. The guard’s mistress denies knowing about the death camps and maintains that the guard, her lover, is not a monster.[3]

Offred and her mother used to fight, because her mother thinks Offred does not appreciate the sacrifices early feminists made in order to help the next generation of women[1]. Offred is ashamed of her mother’s activism.[4]

After the takeover Edit

Offred tries to contact her mother to no avail. Going to her mother’s apartment with Luke, she finds the place in disarray and her mother gone. Luke tells her not to call the police, saying it wouldn’t do any good with Offred's mother having apparently been arrested by the regime for her views and political activism [5].

In the present Edit

Moira tells Offred that she saw Offred’s mother in one of the films about the Colonies. Offred expresses relief at first until Moira points out that her mother would probably be better off dead, due to the harsh and unsanitary conditions in the Colonies. Offred, horrified, realises that Moira is probably right. It is not known what happened to Offred's mother, though it can be assumed she ultimately died of sickness in the Colonies. [5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Section 20
  2. Section 7
  3. Section 24
  4. Section 28
  5. 5.0 5.1 Section 39
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