Ofglen (Novel) is a character in The Handmaid's Tale novel. She is a Handmaid assigned to Commander Glen and is friends with Offred. She is revealed to be a member of an underground resistance named Mayday.
Her real name in the book it is never mentioned.
Offred describes her as "a little plumper than I am. Her eyes are brown, she walks demurely, head down, red-gloved hands clasped in front, with short little steps like a trained pig’s on its hind legs."
Offred leaves the house to go shopping, she waits at the corner for Ofglen. The Handmaids always travel in pairs when outside. Ofglen arrives, and they exchange greetings, careful not to say anything that isn’t strictly orthodox. Ofglen says that she has heard the war is going well, and that the army recently defeated a group of Baptist rebels. “Praise be,” Offred responds. They reach a checkpoint manned by two young Guardians.
In town, Ofglen and Offred wait in line at the shops. They finish their shopping and go out to the sidewalk, where they encounter a group of Japanese tourists and their interpreter. The tourists want to take a photograph, but Offred says no. Many of the interpreters are Eyes, and Handmaids must not appear immodest. Offred and Ofglen marvel at the women’s exposed legs, high heels, and polished toenails. The tourists ask if they are happy, and since Ofglen does not answer, Offred replies that they are very happy.
As they return from shopping, Ofglen suggests they take the long way and pass by the church. It is an old building, decorated inside with paintings of what seem to be Puritans from the colonial era. Now the former church is kept as a museum. Offred describes a nearby boathouse, old dormitories, a football stadium, and redbrick sidewalks.
Returning from another shopping trip, Ofglen and Offred notice three new bodies on the Wall. One is a Catholic priest and two are Guardians who bear placards around their necks that read “Gender Treachery.” This means they were hanged for committing homosexual acts. After looking at the bodies for a while, Offred tells Ofglen that they should continue walking home. They meet a funeral procession of Econowives, the wives of poorer men. Econowives do not like Handmaids. One woman scowls, and another spits at the Handmaids as they pass.
At the corner near the Commander’s home, Ofglen says “Under His Eye,” the orthodox good-bye, hesitating as if she wants to say more but then continuing on her way.
Ofglen and Offred, now more comfortable with one another, continue to make their shopping trips. The fish store, Loaves and Fishes, rarely opens now, because the seas have become so polluted that few fish still live in them. They continue to visit the Wall.
On one of their return trips, Ofglen and Offred stop at a store called Soul Scrolls. Inside, humming machines print prayers. Many of the Wives phone in orders for prayers in order to signal their piety. After the prayers are printed, the paper is recycled and used again. Suddenly, Ofglen whispers to Offred, asking her whether she believes God actually listens to the machines. Ofglen’s question is treasonous, but Offred decides to trust Ofglen and answers, “No.” The two women realize they can trust one another. Offred is tremendously excited. She learns that Ofglen is part of a group of subversives.
As they walk home, a dark black van painted with a white-winged eye, the symbol of the Eyes, stops abruptly. Offred thinks perhaps her conversation with Ofglen was recorded, but the two Eyes who jump out grab a man carrying a briefcase. They drag him into the vehicle and drive away, and Offred feels tremendous relief.
Summer drags on—with no hope of release from the horror of life in Gilead, the passage of time is unbearable. During a shopping trip one day, Ofglen and Offred find two new bodies on the Wall. One is a Catholic, and another is marked with J, which the women do not understand. If he were Jewish, he would be marked with a yellow star. Ofglen tells Offred that subversives in Gilead use “mayday” as a password, but she warns Offred not to use it often. If she is caught and tortured, she should not know names of other subversives.
Ofglen and Offred attend a “Prayvaganza” with the other women of their district, held in what used to be a university building, where the Handmaids kneel in a section cordoned off by ropes. Janine walks in with a new Wife, and Ofglen whispers that Janine’s baby was deformed, a “shredder” after all. She adds that Janine slept with a doctor to get pregnant.
After the Prayvaganza, Ofglen whispers that the subversives know she sees the Commander in private. She urges Offred to find out everything she can.
Ofglen pressures Offred to break into the Commander’s office. She wants Offred to find out what he really does, what responsibilities he has. But Offred now tunes out Ofglen and spends her time thinking about Nick.
At a Particicution, two Guardians drag a third Guardian to the front. He looks drunk or drugged. Aunt Lydia announces that he and another Guardian have been convicted of rape, and that one of the two Handmaids involved was pregnant and lost the baby in the attack. Aunt Lydia blows a whistle, and the Handmaids close in on the man, kicking and beating him to a bloody pulp. Ofglen dashes in first and kicks his head several times. Afterward, disgusted with her friend, Offred asks Ofglen why she did it. Ofglen whispers that the supposed rapist was part of the underground rebellion, and she wanted to put him out of his misery quickly.
Soon after the Salvaging, Offred goes out for a shopping trip, comforted by the ordinariness of the routine. To her dismay, the Handmaid who meets her is not Ofglen. When Offred asks her where Ofglen went, the woman replies, “I am Ofglen.” As they part, the new Ofglen suddenly whispers that the old Ofglen hanged herself when she saw the van coming to arrest her. “’It was better,’” she says, and then walks quickly away.
|Chapter 2||Offred (Novel) | Aunt Sara | Aunt Elizabeth (Novel) | Alma (Novel) | Janine (Novel) | Dolores (Novel) | Moira (Novel) | June (Novel) | Aunt Lydia (Novel) | Rita | Cora (Novel) | Luke (Novel) ||
|Commander (Novel) | Serena Joy (Novel) ||
|Nick | Ofglen | 5: Janine 7: Offred's Mother | Offred's (First) Daughter | Angela|