The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood

Key Questions and Answers

Summary Key Questions and Answers
What does Offred’s name mean?

Offred, the name given to the narrator when she enters the Commander’s home, is derived from her condition of belonging to the Commander: The name is made of the two words “of” and “Fred.” All the handmaids’ names are made by adding “Of” to the name of their commanders. Further, Offred’s name can be broken down into “off” and “red” as well, indicating that she might be different than the other handmaids and highlighting the color red, which has such significance in the handmaids’ world.