Offred’s best friend from her past before Gilead (at College), Moira is a lesbian and is active in the feminist movement. Offred and Moira wind up in the same training centre. She embodies female resourcefulness and independence and embodies women’s power and authority. She makes several escape attempts and finally manages to get away from the red centre at the second key attempt. However, she is caught before she can get out of Gilead.
Later, Offred encounters Moira working as a prostitute in a club for the Commanders. At the club, Moira seems resigned to her fate, which suggests that a totalitarian society can grind down and crush even the most authoritative and resilient people.
‘I could kill you, you know, said Moira, when Aunt Elizabeth was safely stowed out of sight behind the furnace. I could injure you badly so you would never feel good in your body again. I could zap you with this, or stick this thing into your eye. Just remember I didn’t, if it ever comes to that.’
‘Moira was like an elevator with open sides. She made us dizzy. Already we were losing the taste for freedom, already we were finding these walls secure. In the upper reaches of the atmosphere you’d come apart, you’d vaporize, there would be no pressure holding you together.’
‘Moira slapped her across the face, twice, back and forth. Get back here, she said. Get right back here! You can’t stay there, you aren’t there anymore. That’s all gone.’
‘Moira,’ I say. ‘You don’t mean that.’ She is frightening me now, because what I hear in her voice is indifference, a lack of volition. Have they really done it to her then, taken away something – what? – that used to be so central to her? And how can I expect her to go on, with my idea of her courage, live it through, act it out, when I myself do not?’