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The Handmaid’S Tale Composition Question

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Although Moira’s role in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is subtle she is actually a very important and crucial character to the novel. Moira is the Gilead’s most extreme case because of her personality and personal beliefs. She embodies everything that her best friend and the main character, Offred does not. Moira is rebellious, which will not be tolerated by the regime; independent, which is strictly against the morals and way of life in the Gilead, and; she is also a lesbian, which defies the very reason that the Gilead was formed: Procreation. Upon entering the Gilead she is unwilling to undergo the change that is demanded of her and her peers. Her defiant nature is only short lived. It eventually leads her to ultimately conform to the ways of the Gilead. Moira is constantly testing the boundaries and pushes everything in the Gilead to the limit. Being the exact opposite of what is expected of a woman in the Gilead it is easy to see why she acts the way in which she does. Her character creates conflict and shows the reader the consequences for actions that will not be tolerated.

The society in which Moira and Offred lived was known as Gilead. Gilead is a society formed to counter the effects of the decreasing birthrates in America and is supposed to be pro-women. Its single intention is to control reproduction "Blessed is the fruit". Gilead does this in a very unorthodox yet ingenious way. They take complete control of women by restricting them from doing everything from voting and owning property, to reading or doing anything that makes them independent.

“We learned to whisper almost without sound. In the semidarkness we could stretch out our arms, when the Aunts weren't looking, and touch each other's hands across space. We learned to lip read, our heads flat on the beds, turned sideways, watching each other's mouths. In this way, we exchanged names, from bed to bed: Alma. Janine. Dolores. Moira. June.” ( Atwood, Page 4)

Women are the sole purpose that this society was created but yet it treats them in a subhuman way. They are only used for their ability to give birth. Further more the women that are incapable of giving birth are shipped off or become part of an even lower class. The Gilead is also heavily influenced by religion. Yet there is only one bible and reading from it is strictly forbidden unless you are a commander or high in the social class. It is an intense and strict society making it very hard for people to accept this new lifestyle. This is especially true if the person is defiant and they are being forced into this way of life.

When Offred is captured and sent to the red center of Gilead she encounters her best friend from college, Moira. Moira embodies everything that the Gilead is against and is the complete opposite of Offred even though they are good friends. Moira is very independent and immediately rejects the ways of the Gilead. She is defiant and cunning and after two tries, she eventually escapes the Gilead for a short period of time. Her most controversial quality is that she is a lesbian which goes directly against everything that the Gilead stands for. Moira rejects male to female sexual relations that of which the Gilead

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