The Significance of Moira


We have talked about this before but why is Moira significant in the novel?

In ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Moira represents strength and hope for Offred (and for the reader, too) as she rebels against the totalitarian system under which she is forced to live. She is also a link with the old days at college, and Offred recalls her rebellion against the rules then, too. She seems to epitomise a woman who has rejected Gilead’s philosophy in a variety of ways.

Moira never becomes a handmaid; so she retains her own name, and hence she seems less subservient and more individualised.

She is bisexual and a staunch feminist. These firmly help views allow her to defy the role of women and offer a small token of resistance to Gilead. Her views and preferences also mean that she rejects male/female interaction.

Moira is self-deprecating, amusing and outrageous – certainly not fitting into the role of passive and accepting ‘vessel’ for the production of the next generation.

Her escape attempts show her to be resourceful and clever. By stealing a uniform she could be seen as offering another act of defiance to the suffocating society in which she is living, as clothing is used to define the lack of identity and “typing” into roles.

Her final subjugation and disappearance in the later stages of the novel are also significant symbols, but of defeat. They demonstrate that one person cannot succeed in such a crushing regime, and she becomes one fragmentary part of the history of Gilead.


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