On the Beach

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Characters

Moira Davidson

Characters Moira Davidson

Moira is a lively, flirtatious twenty-four-year old woman who turns to alcohol as a relief from the despair that she will never be able to marry, have a family, travel, or fulfill any of her other dreams. Whenever the morbid reality of the situation becomes too overpowering, she escapes to drink and dance. Moira finds life tedious because has nothing else to do but help on her parent's farm. In the beginning of the novel, Mary Holmes enlists Moira to keep Dwight entertained and distracted during his brief visit. Moira does succeed in this regard, as she manages to bring fun and excitement to Dwight's last months. In turn, Dwight helps Moira find some peace with their inevitable fate.

More than any other character, Moira uses her last months to transform and better herself. She begins to drink less and attend church more often. When she complains about her boredom and her longing to have something to do, Dwight encourages her to take secretarial classes like she planned to do before the war started. Although Moira knows it is crazy and useless to take the classes, she does and finds joy in her learning and accomplishments. While she understands that Dwight will remain loyal to his wife until the end, she cannot help herself from falling in love with him. As the months progress, Moira reveals a more tender and generous side to her tough-talking, party-girl personality. When she finds out that Dwight wants to find a pogo stick for his daughter, Helen, Moira makes an admirable effort to find one for him. Moira dies by herself in her car at a cliff overlooking the ocean, her lonely death the final image of the novel.