The Commander and Offred are spending more and more time with each other and Offred is gradually realizing how to use the power that this affords her (such as asking for hand lotion) but is also acutely aware of the risk involved. The Commander's Wives are in charge of all the women in their households so if she is caught, the Commander will have no say in what happens to her. During their time together, the Commander has allowed Offred to read some of his secret stash of magazines--such racy titles as Vogue.
"What's dangerous in the hands of the multitudes, he said, with what may or may not have been irony, is safe enough for those whose motives are...
Beyond reproach, I said.
He nodded gravely. Impossible to tell whether or not he meant it.
But why show it to me? I said, and then felt stupid. What could he possibly say? That he was amusing himself, at my expense? For he must have known how painful it was to me, to be reminded of the former time."
Offred discovers that there are others, like her, that are not firm believers in the new ways. Just knowing this makes her nervous but hopeful.
In these chapters, we learn more about how the world as it was became the world that it now is. I'm almost certain at this point that Margaret Atwood, when she wrote this book, had a crystal ball and was looking into the future. I can't tell you why; you'll just have to trust me that my jaw dropped when I read Chapter 28!
"I guess that's how they were able to do it, in the way they did, all at once, without anyone knowing beforehand. If there had still been portable money, it would have been more difficult."
Aren't we already headed to a currency free society, what with the almost prevalent use of credit and debit cards? What happened in this this book almost makes me happy that our most recent economic problems have pushed people back into using more paper money.