What happens to Luke’s first wife in The Handmaid’s Tale?
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Luke had an affair with June in The Handmaid’s Tale. What happened to Annie in the Gilead regime? What would she be classed as?
We took a look at how women were given their roles in The Handmaid’s Tale* in a previous post. There is one type of woman we didn’t look at: those who were the victims of affairs. We know Gilead doesn’t accept divorce, which made Luke and June adulterers—and that was before we learned Luke did have an affair with June. He and June were dating before Luke separated from his wife Annie.
What would have happened to Annie in Gilead? The show doesn’t touch on this, and neither does the book. The last we saw of Annie, she was in the same coffee shop as Luke, June, and Hannah. She walked out, and we have no idea if she got out before s**t hit the fan or not.
If she didn’t, what would have become of her? Would she have been looked down on since her husband had an affair?
What happens to other spouses after affairs?
We have seen a few characters have affairs in Gilead. Nothing negative happened to the victim—the innocent spouse. Nick’s wife, Eden, has an affair with a Guardian. Both she and the Guardian are killed by drowning, but Nick ends up getting a promotion. A Wife sent to the Colonies shares that her Commander husband was likely promoted.
This would be the men, though. We know Gilead favors the men, but they will also look at how women can be useful.
Commander Warren Putnam has an affair with Janine while she’s his Handmaid in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 1. His wife, Naomi, asks for a strong punishment, and it leads to his left arm being amputated. While Janine is initially sentenced to death by stoning (mostly for putting the baby at risk), she is eventually sent to the Colonies. However, nothing happens to Naomi. That could be due to her position, but it could also be Gilead seeing that it wasn’t her who had anything to do with the affair.
That could suggest that Annie is safe from some form of punishment. She could end up being a Martha or even an Aunt depending on how pious she was. If she could have children, she may have been made a Handmaid. Of course, depending on her age and occupation, there is a chance she would have been considered one of the Unwomen and sent to the Colonies.
Could Annie be a Widow in The Handmaid’s Tale?
One of the issues is that Luke wasn’t kept around in Gilead, which makes it impossible to tell what happened to Annie. He could have been left presumed dead, which could lead to Annie being classed as a Widow. She wouldn’t be the widow of a Commander, which wouldn’t help her much, but she could end up being remarried to someone of the Econo class. This could lead to her being an Econowife.
However, that would assume she was young enough to still have children. Gilead is all about families. Chances are that Annie would have been tasked to be a Martha if she wasn’t sent to the Colonies.
The Aunt theory does have some weight. Annie was hurt that Luke had an affair. She still loved her husband and she made a note to June about how the vows meant something. If she was pious enough, there is a possibility that she was able to prove herself to have Aunt material. If only she and June came face-to-face in the Aunt/Handmaid role at some point.
What do you think happened to Annie in The Handmaid’s Tale? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
The Handmaid’s Tale* is available to stream on Hulu.