Deemo(Yizhou) Chen's Observatory

Some Thoughts About The Handmaid’s Tale


Two Ideas, Two Discoveries

The Collapse of The Spiritual Support


Moira is a main character who plays a big role in The Handmaid’s Tale, she shows the power Gilead have by her fallen process. Moria is a brave and strong woman and her characteristics can be defined by all things she does. She is an extraordinary girl “in her purple overalls, one dangly earring, the gold fingernail she wore to be eccentric” (pg. 47) because those apparel on her is still very ahead even in the time of the USA, and the word “eccentric” shows that those apparel are not that mild for most of the people. The things wear on people shows their features, so by the apparel Moria wears, she is an independent and extreme woman. “‘Go on back,’ Moria said to them. ‘Don’t make a thing of it, what if she walks in?’” (pg. 228). Moria here is trying to calm down the situation, because Janine’s crazy behavior may let Aunts come. Moria is the first handmaid who begins to control the situation when Janine begin to behave like she is crazy and other handmaids are do not know what to do but make noises. Moira is the leader of  “sheep”, this solving trouble ability shows her power and independence. Moira is the only one who brave enough to escape from the house “Moira was out there somewhere.” (pg.143), here is the sentence said by Offred which shows the thing that Moira is already escaped from the house. Moira is the only one let the escaping plan becomes true from the heart, which shows she is a brave and extraordinary woman. All things above shows Moria is a brave and great woman, which looks she actually could be the bravest character in the novel. The thing is, Moria as the symbol of independence and strengthen, in the club of Commanders, Moira still be corrupted by the society and be a prostitute willingly “You should figure out some way of getting here.” (pg. 261), Moira here is thinks nothing about to escape but wants to stay in the club forever and let it becomes a kind of honor, which is the key to show how powerful the new government of Gilead is. Moira displays the strength of the government–how it could reduce even a woman of rebellious strength to a worn woman dressed in a tattered bunny costume. Moira is every bit as much of a sexual object as those forced to be vessels for pregnancy–maybe even more so. She shows the difficulty of escape this sexual totalitarian society, because of that difficulty, Gilead is a very powerful government.



Color, Red, and Bondage


Red as color through the whole book, which plays an important role in The Handmaid’s Tale. Red is the symbol of bondage and shows the limitation of handmaids’ rights. Offred always talks about how uncomfortable she is to wear those red robes “when it is muddy, in July and August, you wear inside them.” (pg. 65), here Offred is talking about that she needs to wear a hot red robe even on such a hot day. Which replace the feeling of “feel free to wear things you like.” It is unreasonable for handmaids to wear those closed type robes in such a fuggy day, but handmaids have no choice to refuse. They even cannot decide the cloth they could dress, it is not only just a simple rule but also can see the view of the rights handmaids has from such a small thing, handmaids have no freedom. “Her dress is crisp cool cotton. For her, it’s blue, watercolor, not this red of mine that sucks in heat and blazes with it at the same time.”(pg. 213), here Offred talks about the different clothes between handmaids and wives, not all the women in Gilead must wear those uncomfortable red robes but only handmaids. Only handmaid’s freedom is limited that much but not like wives can dress cool cotton. Red is handmaid’s color, the color of bondage. “A shape, red with white wings around the face, a shape like mine, a nondescript woman in red carrying a basket.”(pg. 28), here Offred describes the uniform they wear when the first time she met Ofglen. The red robe handmaids dress let they cannot have obvious features, which means those red robes cover and remove their personalities. Gilead wants handmaids to lose their features by the way of wearing the almost same red robes, which is a bondage to limited handmaids’ characteristics. “Here there are no chairs. Our area is cordoned off with a silky twisted scarlet rope, like the kind they used to have in movie theatres to restrain the customers”(pg. 226), here the red rope is the tool to keep handmaids’ order in the Salvaging. Handmaids are limited by only a red silky rope which could be easily broken, the thing limited handmaids is not a strong and hard wall, but the red rope, which is the spirit limitation. The control of Gilead is in the inside of handmaids, they feel powerless against the society. The scarlet rope is the symbol of controlling and limiting. Red, spirit bondage, like a dome covered each handmaid’s mind.

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By Deemo
Deemo(Yizhou) Chen's Observatory