Chapter XI: Sackcloth is the 11-th chapter of The Testaments. It contains section 29 with Aunt Lydia as narrator.


Lydia hears news about a potential traitor within Ardua Hall, and recounts how she became a Founding Aunt.


Section 29Edit

(Ardua Hall) Lydia’s manuscript continues. At the hotel, Commander Judd shows up again. Having experienced both their torture and their largess, he wants to know if she plans to cooperate. Lydia says yes. To prove herself, she is instructed to perform one of the daily executions, with her friend Anita as one of the targets. She does, though years later, Judd tells Lydia that her rifle contained a blank.

Soon, Lydia meets Elizabeth, Helena and Vidala for the first time. Commander Judd tells them they are jointly to help organize the “female sphere” of their new society, including establishing laws, uniforms, slogans and so on. Vidala clearly wants to be seen as the “leader” of this group, but Lydia emerges as the clear leader.

In present day, Vidala shows up to alert Lydia about Elizabeth. Elizabeth has been leaving offerings at Lydia’s statue and is planning on denouncing Lydia for promoting idolatry. Lydia is surprised that Vidala would warn her, given their historically antagonistic relationship. Vidala says that she was wrong to doubt Lydia’s leadership in the past.

Notable QuotesEdit

"Quote here"
- Context here[src]


Commander Judd mentions that Aunt Lydia can be prosecuted for having an abortion, since ban of abortion in the Republic of Gilead is a retroactive ex post facto law.  (Fundamental Rights and Constitutional Law/Ex post facto law)


(e.g. contextual implications)


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