Chapter XIII: Night is the 13th chapter of The Handmaid's Tale (Novel). It contains section 40.
Back in her room at the Commander’s house, Offred has removed her makeup and put on her Handmaid clothes. Serena plans to meet her at midnight to take her to Nick so that Offred and Nick can have sex. In the middle of the night, Serena comes and tells Offred to go to Nick’s apartment. Serena will wait for Offred to return.
Offred twice tells the story of what happens next. The first story, thick with passion and desire, is told in the breathy language of a romance novel. The second, probably more accurate, is awkward, uncertain, and full of sadness for the lost courtship rituals of the pre-Gilead world. “No romance . . . okay?” Nick says before they begin. Offred takes pleasure in the act this time. Offred says that neither of the versions is completely accurate, that every story is by nature a reconstruction. After sleeping with Nick, she feels ashamed. She feels she betrayed Luke and wonders if she would feel differently if she knew Luke was dead.
- "SparkNote on The Handmaid’s Tale." http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/handmaid/.
- Chapter transcript: