• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss the presentation and importance of Moira and the narrator's mother in the novel 'The Handmaid's Tale'

Extracts from this document...


Beth Jackson Discuss the presentation and importance of Moira and the narrator's mother in the novel 'The Handmaid's Tale' In the novel ' The Handmaid's Tale' Margaret Atwood uses both the characters of Moira and the Handmaid's mother to give a real insight of the Gilead regime, women's roles in society and how these roles have changed over the years. Atwood uses these characters to present two extremes of the feminist view. The character of Moira is strongly individual and represents the ideal of friendship in the novel. Throughout the novel Moira is referred to both in nostalgic memories of the handmaid, but also as a main character who challenges the regime .She is portrayed in the handmaids memories as a rebel even before the Gilead regime began 'in her purple overalls, one dangly earring, the gold fingernail that she wore to be eccentric. She could be classed a modern women experimenting with her sexuality and campaigning for issues through her education papers on 'Date Rape'. Atwood uses the character of Moira to comment on a particular type of young feminists that were active in the 80's. ...read more.


The last view that Atwood lets us see of Moira working in Jezebel's brothel. This is where the reader is presented with the idea that in fact even the brightest and boldest characters can be worn down and the sheer irony of Moira's final occupation 'I'd like her to end with something daring and spectacular, some outrage, something that would befit her. But as far as I know that didn't happen'. Moira is one of the spirited feminist heroines, like Offred's mother Another major female character portrayed in the novel is Offred's mother. Atwood uses this character to symbolise and different type of feminism than the extreme feminism of Moira. Offreds mother symbolises the ideas of the Women's Liberation Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, campaigning for women's sexual and social freedom. Atwood presents her as a strong willed but lonely character that is set in her ways as a political activist. The character doesn't really appear in the present of the narrative only in the flash backs of Offred her daughter. Only much later does Offred learn that she has been condemned as an Unwoman and sent to the Colonies. ...read more.


Not that your father wasn't a nice guy and all, but he wasn't up to fatherhood. Not that I expected it of him. Just do the job, then you can bugger off, 1 said, I make a decent salary, I can afford day-care. So he went to the coast and sent Christmas cards. He had beautiful blue eyes though.' Atwood presents the character as an embarrassing but heroic figure. She is used by Atwood to display how easily ideas can be turned and changed 'Mother, I think. Wherever you may be. Can you hear me? You wanted a women's culture. Well, now there is one. It isn't what you meant, but it exists. Be thankful for small mercies'. Offred and the reader learn to admire Offreds mother's courage and to value her memory as a vital link with Offreds own lost identity. Atwood uses both the characters of Moira and the Handmaid's mother to highlight the actions of two individual women's whose very different private assertions become almost symbolic in the novel. Both characters show the importance of female roles such as mother, daughter and friend and how these roles effect the outcome of the narrator's life. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Margaret Atwood section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Margaret Atwood essays

  1. The Handmaid's Tale - What are the main methods of control in the Gileadean ...

    who play cards and are unlikely to be called in except for a full emergency, in this field women reign supreme. Handmaids are forbidden to talk to each other except for set phrases that they have. They must greet each other by saying 'blessed be the fruit,' and the accepted

  2. Explore the issues concerning women and feminism raised in the novel The Handmaid's tale.

    escape the enclosure of the patriarchal regime, but ends up no better off for it. Offred describes her 'irreverent, resourceful' feminist friend from earlier times, who actively rebels against the Gilead system. Despite the horrible foot punishment Moira suffers after her first attempted escape from the Red Centre, she remains undaunted.

  1. Explore the issues concerning women and feminism raised in The Handmaids Tale

    We studied things like that, then." Giving them a chance to have a career of their own, which earn them their own money allowing them to have choice of what they wanted to buy. Women had much more independence allowing them to think for themselves and make the choices they wanted which I will elaborate on later.

  2. What analysis of the female role does Margaret Atwood offer in ' The Handmaid's ...

    Offred knows that she should not try to speak to her shopping partner Ofglen, in case she is a spy. 'The truth is that she is my spy, as I am hers.' Another factor preventing the handmaids from building up friendships is the fact that one of the predominant emotions that they feel towards each other is jealousy.

  1. Compare and contrast the narrative structures in 'White Teeth' and 'Beloved' and how the ...

    What would I be doing with diamonds?' 'On your ears.' The past is not exclusive with Beloved, she knows parts of history that she was not part of. This is part of her superhuman qualities, which expose that she is not a real part of this life and the present.

  2. "The Handmaids Tale" By Margaret Atwood, "The importance of being Ernest" by Oscar Wilde ...

    I am never wrong.' Which is very rude and shows her arrogance and has the subtext of hurrying the conversation to the subject of marriage before her Mother comes back into the room which breaks the politeness principle, and is also broken by Lady Bracknell when she is interviewing Jack and also by Serena

  1. What do you find interesting about the ways in which Margaret Atwood presents relationships ...

    as paicularly ruthless, especially in contrast to Canada, which is where Atwood is from. The reader is told that the regime has not spread as far as Canada, which is significant considering that Canada is a more liberal country. This may be a wider critique of American life suggesting America

  2. Compare and contrast their representation of the different social and cultural forces which contribute ...

    This image of casing nature runs throughout the novel through the use of colour symbolisation. Dickens associated richness of colour with the preservation of life and individuality; neither black nor white are considered as colours therefore Coketown dismisses the idea of individuality by containing people within strict structures - like the structural presence of Atwood's uniforms.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work