Offred’s real name is unknown since handmaids are forbidden to use their actual names but instead are named after their masters. She serves a man known as Fred, hence the name, Offred – ‘Of Fred’. Fred’s wife is known as Serena Joy, a former gospel singer who is now a campaigner for the traditional values that the Gilead government upholds. The new government demands that its followers should have a moral, highly religious and virtuous lifestyle guided by the Bible. However, due to the sexual freedom, multiple abortions and venereal diseases of the previous regime, many men and women in this era are sterile. Therefore the few that are able to reproduce such as Offred, are used as handmaids; whose sole purpose is to reproduce for wealthy couples that have trouble conceiving.

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