Character Analysis of The Handmaid's Tale

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Character Analysis of The Handmaid's Tale Moira ===== We first meet Moira "breezing into" (P65) Offred's room at college. She is the breath of fresh air. As Offred says, "She always made me laugh" (P66). One of her roles is to bring humour to the reader, to lighten the situation and contrast with the horror of the Gileadean regime. An example of this is when Moira changes the hymn "There is a Balm in Gilead" to "There is a Bomb in Gilead" (P230). Margaret Atwood uses imagery to illustrate the role of Moira's humour in giving hope to the handmaidens. She describes Moira as a "giggle; she was the lava beneath the crust of daily life" for the handmaidens in the Red Centre (P143). I think in this metaphor Margaret Atwood is describing the effect of Moira's bubbly personality, always rising from under the surface of the hard Gileadean regime. Moira's rebellious and nonconformist nature is evident from Margaret Atwood's first physical descriptions of her. Before the regime took over, Moira had one "gold finger nail she wore to be eccentric" (P47). I think Margaret Atwood uses Moira as the rebellious character fighting against the regime. Her role is to stand out from the other female characters. She is in contrast with the reaction to the Gileadean regime of Offred, who endures the system in order to survive, and Janine who is totally broken. Moira is the only female character in the book to maintain her original name. This makes her distinct from the other women in the book and is another example of her individuality. Another role of Moira's rebellious nature is to give hope to Offred and help her to survive. Following Moir... ... middle of paper ... ... was so important to Offred, and is no longer the stronger character, as she is also now trying to "save her skin" (P261). Although she has lost her rebelliousness, she retains her humour and teases Offred, "there's lot's of women around. Butch paradise, you might call it" (P261). The role of this change in Moira's character is to show the strength of the Gileadean regime. They can even break Moira, they have "taken away something - what? - that used to be so central to her" (P261). Moira has become indifferent to her fate and has lost her strength to choose. I think Margaret Atwood uses Moira's final role to illustrate the fate of many people under the Gileadean regime. She simply disappears. The heroic character does not have a spectacular ending "something that would befit her" (P262), but is never heard of again.
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