The Hope and Hopelessness of Moira: "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood: Argumentative essay: Moira as a symbolic character of hope to the main character.

Essay by vampirek87High School, 12th gradeA+, December 2005

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Independence is what teenagers strive for while going through adolescence. Once achieved, this right of passage is one of the most difficult to surrender. Such strong defiance and independence is shown in Margaret Atwood's, "The Handmaid's Tale", through the minor character of Moira. This character is referred to throughout the novel as strong-willed and independent until Offred finds her near the end, different and broken. Through Moira, Atwood is able to develop Offred as a dependent on hope and further develop the theme of hopelessness in Totalitarian governments.

Throughout the novel, Offred makes references to Moira, Offreds friend since college. Every time this character is mentioned, it's in remembrance of her defiance. Moira is first referred to in chapter seven at night when Offred remembers the days before the reform. Offred describes Moira as wearing "purple overalls", "one dangling earring", a "gold be eccentric" (49-50), with "a cigarette between her stubby yellow-ended fingers".

All of these details show the reader a rebellious, independent college student. This feature of rebellion is what brings Offred's thoughts back to Moira. Offred wishes to rebel, but is senseless as to how it could be accomplished. Later, after the reform, the girls had been sent to the "Red Center", where Moira's independence leads to her beating in the first offense. During one of the girls' rendezvous in the bathroom, Moira explains that she must escape. "I'll fake sick. They send an ambulance, I've seen it." (115). Although Moira was able to escape the "Red Center" for some time, she was found out and punished: an example that the strong willed cannot overpower the laws of a Totalitarian government. Offred sympathizes for Moira, but more so, she admires her bravery as she looks back at the event. Offred later recalls Moiras second attempt...