What happens to Janine in the Handmaids Tale book?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

Janine, a character in Margaret Atwood’s novel “The Handmaid’s Tale,” undergoes a series of traumatic events after the creation of the oppressive regime known as Gilead. These events shape her character and reveal the horrors inflicted upon women in this dystopian society.

Upon Gilead’s establishment, Janine is separated from her daughter and sent to the Red Center, where women are trained to become Handmaids. The Red Center serves as a reeducation facility, where the Aunts attempt to break down the women’s spirits and mold them into submissive servants of the state.

Janine, already emotionally fragile, quickly succumbs to the psychological manipulations employed by the Aunts. She is coerced into confessing her perceived sins, which include her gang-rape and subsequent abortion. This confession is meant to shame and humiliate Janine, reinforcing the idea that women are responsible for the violence inflicted upon them.

The Aunts exploit Janine’s vulnerability and use her story as a cautionary tale to further control the Handmaids. They emphasize that Janine’s rape and abortion were a result of her own choices, blaming her for the violence she endured. This narrative serves to diminish the systemic oppression and shift the blame onto the victims themselves.

Janine’s experiences highlight the dehumanizing nature of the Gileadean regime. She is stripped of her agency, forced to internalize the guilt and shame imposed upon her by the Aunts. Her story also reveals the extreme control Gilead has over women’s bodies and reproductive rights. By forcing Janine to confess her abortion, Gilead further enforces its strict policies on reproductive control, reducing women to mere vessels for procreation.

The portrayal of Janine’s journey is deeply unsettling and serves as a stark reminder of the atrocities committed against women in Gilead. Her story showcases the psychological and emotional toll of living under an oppressive regime, where personal autonomy and individuality are violently suppressed.

In reflecting on Janine’s experiences, it is essential to remember that this fictional narrative draws inspiration from real-world instances of women’s oppression and the denial of their reproductive rights. Janine’s story serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of fighting for gender equality and the protection of women’s bodily autonomy in our own society.