The Handmaid's Tale Analysis

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In Margaret Atwood’s novel, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, Moira is depicted as the symbol for resistance to authority and represents hope to the Handmaids. Atwood presents her as a polar opposite to Offred. She is independent, strong-willed, and outspoken. Conversely, the pair can be argued to be doubles in the fact that they both ‘resist’ to the oppressive Republic in Gilead. Throughout the novel, Moira’s use of informal language and slang is apparent. This is significant because Moira’s crude vocabulary is dramatically different from how the Handmaids are taught to speak, marking her as a dissenter under the restrictive rule of Gilead. For instance, Moira scoffs that the Red Centre is “a loony bin” in Chapter 13. The use of the colloquial noun ‘loony’ to describe the Red Centre establishes a conversational, almost childish tone of voice. This contrasts from the rather mechanic and automated voice Offred has when she becomes a Handmaid, replying with contrived phrases such as “praise be” to other Handmaids. Thus, Atwood’s choice of making Moira’s tone of voice tenacious and even sarcastic, leads to the notion of Moira being an important symbol for rebellion amongst Handmaids. Moira is characterised by Offred in Chapter 22 as a “loose woman.” Offered contemplates what Moira would do after her attempted escape of the Red Centre: “At any moment there might be a shattering explosion, the glass of the windows would fall inwards, the doors would swing open…Moira had the power
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