Moira Presents Provides All Necessary Basic

The following sample essay on Moira Presents provides all necessary basic info on this matter, including the most common “for and against” arguments. Below are the introduction, body and conclusion parts of this essay. Moira is Offred’s best friend in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, from the time before. She too is a survivor of the American permissive society, who actively rebels against the Gilead system, by constantly running away from the Red Centre, where she is to be trained to become a Handmaid.

She is the heroin of the novel, fighting a one-woman resistance against an entire nation. It is Moira who predicts the rise of Gilead, knowing that liberties taken for granted cease to be liberties. “Look out,” Moria says to Offred, as the Gileadean coup begins. “You wait, she said. They’ve been building up to this. It’s you and me against the wall, baby. She was quoting an expression of my mother’s, but she wasn’t intending to be funny”.

She is presented as a strongly individual character against the background of a society that seeks to deny the rights of the individual. Offred finds comfort in her memories of Moira whom she sees as the embodiment of female heroism because she stubbornly refuses to submit to the principles of a male-dominated regime. For example wearing clothes from the time before, ‘She still had her clothes on, jeans and a blue sweatshirt – her hair was short, she’d defied fashion as usual.’ We are first introduced to the character of Moira in chapter 7, as a trendy college student who wears purple overalls and ‘one dangly earring’ leaving her paper on ‘Date Rape’ to go for a beer.

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Margaret Atwood presents Moira as quite a spunky character, through the short, punchy sentences. The passage is also representative of the time before with its speech being different from that in the rest of the book, for example ‘Now, it’s only me. You don’t need to paint your face.’

Moira in the novel is the only one to try and escape the enclosure of the patriarchal regime, but ends up no better off for it. Despite the horrible foot punishment Moira suffers after her first attempted escape from the Red Centre, she remains undaunted. ‘I left that old hag Aunt Elizabeth tied up like a Christmas turkey behind the furnace. I wanted to kill her, I really felt like it….’, Moira later tells Offred, as she describes, in her feminist-dialogic speech, her second escape attempt. After her disappearance from the Red Centre, Moira becomes a fantasy for the other Handmaid’s. Because of her rebellion, the Aunts are ‘less fearsome and more absurd,’ for their power is somehow flawed. She represents all that they would like to do but would not dare: ‘Moira was our fantasy.

We hugged her to us, she was with us in secret, a giggle; she was lava beneath the crust of daily life.’ Moira here still speaks in the same way as she did in the time before, ‘God, do I need a cigarette,’ which also provides an irony that Moira still uses ‘God’ in vain in a supposedly religious, however perverted society. Later on in the novel, she is then seen by Offred on a night out with the Commander to a brothel; Moira becomes a Jezebel; sterilised, sexually appealing, scantily clad women, who are kept in a locked hotel where only the Commanders and their privileged guests may enter. It is here that Offred has her final meeting with Moira, when her Commander disguises her as one of the Jezebels and sneaks her inside for an evening of kinky sex. “It’s like screwing on the altar or something; your gang are supposed to be such chaste vessels,” says Moira. “They like to see you all painted up. Just another crummy power trip.”

Moira and the other Jezebels are walled up in a prison; the only exit is the death of the Unwomen: “You’d have three of four good years before your snatch wears out and they send you to the boneyard.” Moira, however trapped in the regime she is now, still keeps her identity from the time before, from her language. She still uses words such as ‘Godawful’ and ‘Hell no’ which are both religious taboos in Gileadian society as because it is a society based on religion, these would be considered profane. Moira relates in many ways to the themes in the novel. She strongly portrays identity, as she is always known by her own name because she never becomes a Handmaid.

Moira’s lesbianism may also be seen as an aspect of her heroism. By rejecting men as sexual partners, she refuses to surrender her right to a personal identity. By the same token, she refuses to accept the purely biological role that the authorities in Gilead have assigned to fertile women of childbearing age. From the outset, Moira’s resistance to the regime is both overt and active. Offred remembers that, during the period leading up to the ‘coup’, it was Moira who could see most clearly that the position of women was under threat. Similarly, at the Rachel and Leah Centre, Moira refuses to be bullied or beaten into even the appearance of acceptance. Instead, she takes matters into her own hands and tries to escape. She shows intelligence, resourcefulness and courage and, eventually, succeeds.

She also strongly portrays Feminism, as she is the female rebel/heroin of the novel. Offred’s recollection of her ideas, attitudes and behaviour in ‘the time before’ allow us to see the extreme misogynistic principles that characterise Gilead in the context of what may be similar but much more subtle ideas and attitudes belonging to the present and recent past. Despite Moira’s urgent warnings, Offred herself passively accepts the social developments that gradually move towards the final ‘coup’. She is privately concerned but she does not act to protect or defend her position as a woman. Instead, she retreats into the emotional security of her relationship with Luke and concentrates her energies on home making, thus accepting the traditional female role.

Another aspect of the way in which Atwood uses Moira in relation to feminism is that she shows that along with Offred’s mother and Ofglen, rebels fall victim to the regime. Despite their courage and commitment, all have disappeared by the end of Offred’s narrative. Ofglen and Offred’s mother are dead and, although Moira’s destiny remains unknown, it is likely that she has met a similar fate. By comparison with these, Offred herself is passive and unresisting. Apparently compliant, her private opposition to the regime is revealed only through the ‘narrative’ that comes to light many years after her death. Therefore some critics say that one of Atwood’s purposes’ of Moira in the novel is to make an ironic comment on the long-term effectiveness of political activism. She implicitly emphasises – as does George Orwell in ‘1984’ the personal responsibility of the individual has towards his or her ‘truth’.

Atwood also uses Moira as part of her exploration of the concept of ‘narrative’. Within the incomplete and segmented narrative that is Offred’s story, Atwood embeds a number of other ‘stories’ that are similarly incomplete. Moira’s end is unknown but it is an interesting insight into the significance of Moira in Offred’s life that the latter speculates to the ‘ending’ of Moira’s story that she would like to tell.

The character of Moira can present quite a few messages from Atwood. J. Brooks Bouson points out that ‘the narrative, while typecasting Moira as a feminist rebel. Also dramatises her defeat,’ as although Moira did everything in her power to escape the Red centre and the regime, she actually ended up still imprisoned. Moira’s tragedy is that her energy and courage cannot be accommodated within Gilead, yet the regime will not let her escape. I think Atwood’s message is bleak. She seems to condemn Offred and Serena Joy for being complacent and serving as agents of the totalitarian state, but then when Moira stopped complying, she still didn’t succeed in making any difference.

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Moira Presents Provides All Necessary Basic. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

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