Serena Joy


Outer characterization

Serena Joy is another important character in The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. She is the wife of the Commander. She cannot have children herself, so they have been assigned Offred as a Handmaid. Offred describes her appearance in detail:

A little of her hair was showing, from under her veil. It was still blonde. […] Her eyebrows were plucked into thin arched lines, which gave her a permanent look of surprise, or outrage, or inquisitiveness, such as you might see on a startled child, but below them her eyelids were tired-looking. Not so her eyes, which were the flat hostile blue of a midsummer sky in bright sunlight, a blue that shuts you out. Her nose must once have been what was called cute but now was too small for her face. Her face was not fat but it was large. Two lines led downwards from the corners of her mouth; between them was her chin, clenched like a fist. (Chapter 3, 67%)

Offred also remembers Serena Joy from before the revolution, when she was called Pam and was a Gospel singer on television: “She was ash blonde, petite, with a snub nose and huge blue eyes which she’d turn upwards during hymns. She could smile and cry at the same time.” (Chapter 3, 100%)

Inner characte


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