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The Testaments (2019) is a novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, the sequel to her 1985 novel The Handmaid's Tale. The novel takes place 15 years after Offred's final scene, and is narrated by three female characters: Aunt Lydia, one of the principal characters in the first novel, Agnes, a young woman living in Gilead, and Daisy, a young woman in Canada who is horrified by Gilead's abuses of human rights.

Opening EpigraphsEdit

"Every woman is supposed to have the same set of motives, or else be a monster" -George Eliot, Daniel Derdona

Atwood Word

"When we look one another in the face, we're neither of us just looking at a face we hate - no, we're gazing into a mirror... Do you really not recognize yourselves in that mirror...?" -Obersturmbannführer Liss to Old Bolshevik Motovsky, Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate

"Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake... It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one." -Ursula K. Le Guin, The Tombs of Atuan

ChaptersEdit

Chapter
Section(s)
Narrator
Abstract
I Statue 1 Aunt Lydia Lydia mulls over her legacy in Gilead.
II Precious Flower 2-5 Agnes Agnes recounts her early childhood until her mother, Tabitha, passes away.
III Hymn 6 Aunt Lydia Lydia celebrates Easter at the Ardua Hall.
IV The Clothes Found 7-11 Daisy Daisy recounts her childhood, leading up to her sixteenth birthday when her parents are car-bombed by Gilead agents.
V Van 12 Aunt Lydia Lydia speaks with Commander Judd, and recounts her arrest shortly after the takeover.
VI Six For Dead 13-19 Agnes Agnes recounts her father's second marriage to Paula, her father's Handmaid Ofkyle's pregnancy, and her death in childbirth.
VII Stadium 20 Aunt Lydia Lydia meets with Helena, Elizabeth, and Vidala, instructing them to seek out potential traitors. She recounts a mass execution of educated women after her arrest.
VIII Carnarvon 21-23 Daisy Daisy reacts to the deaths of her parents, and is taken to a safe-house, Carnarvon. She discovers her true identity: that she is the legendary Baby Nicole.
IX Thank Tank 24 Aunt Lydia Lydia meets with Aunt Sally and goes over the details of Adrianna's death. She recalls her imprisonment in the Thank Tank and how she came to be made an Aunt.
X Spring Green 25-28 Agnes Agnes recounts her time at Rubies Premarital Prepatory and the preparations for her wedding at just thirteen years of age.
XI Sackcloth 29 Aunt Lydia Lydia hears news about a potential traitor within Ardua Hall, and recounts how she became a Founding Aunt.
XII Carpitz 30-33 Daisy Daisy meets with members of Mayday and agrees to infiltrate Gilead as a spy.
XIII Secateurs 34 Aunt Lydia Aunt Lydia discovers that Vidala has been framing Elizabeth. She remembers the aftermath of Becka's attempted suicide.
XIV Ardua Hall 35-40 Agnes Agnes recounts her coming to Ardua Hall and abandoning her prospective marriage to begin her induction as an Aunt.
XV Fox and Cat 41 Aunt Lydia Aunt Lydia recalls Becka and Agnes's testimony of Dr. Grove's sexual abuse. She tells Elizabeth of Vidala's deceit.
XVI Pearl Girls 42-45 Daisy "Jade" allows herself to be persuaded to enter Gilead by the Pearl Girls.
XVII Perfect Teeth 46 Aunt Lydia Lydia gets Elizabeth to frame Dr. Grove for attempted rape. She tells Commander Judd that Baby Nicole has entered Gilead.
XVIII Reading Room 47-51 Agnes Agnes, now called Aunt Victoria, and Becka, now Aunt Imortelle, instruct"Jade" in the customs of Gilead.
XIX Study 52 Aunt Lydia
XX Bloodlines 53-58 Agnes and Daisy

Aunt Victoria, Aunt Imortelle, and "Jade"  learn that Jade is Baby Nichole, as well as that she and Aunt Victoria are half-sisters.  Aunt Lydia is revealed to be the inside source and gives the trio an important mission.

XXI Fast and Thick 59 Aunt Lydia The Eyes and Angels suspect a traitor, Aunt Victoria's character is questioned, and Commander Judd decrees that he wishes to marry Nicole, complicating Aunt Lydia's plan.
XXII Heartstopper 60-64 Agnes and Daisy Aunt Lydia informs the trio about a change in plans.  Aunt Imortelle remains behind.  The other two are stopped by Aunt Vidala.  After Nichole knocks her out, they leave for Canada.
XXIII Wall 65 Aunt Lydia Aunt Vidala is found comatose, diagnosed with a stroke.  Aunt Lydia takes a vial of morphine. Nichole's disappearance is discovered.
XXIV The ''Nellie J. Banks'' 66-67 Agnes and Daisy The sisters make up as they travel towards Canada.  En route, the transportation breaks down.
XXV Wakeup 68 Aunt Lydia Aunt Imortelle is found dead in the cistern.  After Commander Judd orders the deaths of Agnes and Nichole, Aunt Lydia shoots and kills him.  Aunt Vidala denounces Lydia.
XXVI Landfall 69-70 Agnes and Daisy Agnes and Daisy arrive in Canada and are reunited with their mother, Offred.
XXVII Sendoff 71 Aunt Lydia Aunt Lydia, who expects to be captured momentarily, hides her writings, and uses the morphine to commit suicide.
The Thirteenth Symposium Epilogue Professor Pieixoto In 2197, Pieixoto discusses the historical context and validity of The Testaments.
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