By J. Brooks Bouson
Brutal Choreographies investigates the novels of Margaret Atwood, targeting their mental and political matters. Drawing on fresh feminist and psychoanalytic concept, J. Brooks Bouson examines Atwood's ordinary self, family members, and romantic dramas, her novelistic subversion of romantic love ideology, and her critique of gender and tool politics. Bouson additionally considers the oppositional recommendations utilized in Atwood's novels: their punitive plotting and enactments of woman revenge fantasies, their dialogic resistance to romantic discourse, and their self-conscious manipulation and sabotage of romance and different conventional plot strains and conventions.
From the protofeminism of The suitable for eating Woman, the cultural feminism of Surfacing, and the exam of the perils of Gothic pondering in Lady Oracle to the household and sexual conflict of Life ahead of Man, the anti-feminist backlash terrors of Bodily Harm and The Handmaid's Tale, and the facility politics of woman relationships in Cat's Eye, Atwood's women-centered fiction has powerful oppositional allure. simply because Atwood doesn't shun what she calls the "story of the catastrophe that is the world," her stories are usually brutal, portraying girl victimization by the hands of the husband or male lover, the mum, or the feminine pal. but when the Atwood novel has the ability to disturb, compel, and every now and then brutalize its reader, it's also conscientiously choreographed, utilizing shape and layout to comprise and regulate the feminine fears, anxieties, and anger that force the narrative.
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Extra resources for Brutal choreographies: oppositional strategies and narrative design in the novels of Margaret Atwood
An example of the punitive strategies and feminist-dialogic speech that occur in her fiction is found in "Writing the Male Character," in which Atwood is supposedly reporting on a conversation she had with a male friend about why men "feel threatened" by women. ' " If, in her friend's explanation, men are afraid of women because they fear that "women will laugh at them," women report that they are afraid of men for a very different reason: they are "afraid of being killed" (413). Effectively gaining active mastery over women's collective passive suffering, Atwood threatens men by laughing at them and by doing to them what they have long done to women.
It's not a statement about the text. It's a statement about the user" (Hancock 276). My intention in Brutal Choreographies is to provide a critical reading of Atwood's novels and to read her work with my feet planted firmly on the ground. Because Atwood is a novelist whose career spans the emergence and evolution of the second wave of feminism and the conservative backlash against it, and because her novels engage in interesting ways with the oppositional culture of the women's movement, I find feminist theoryin particular Anglo-American theoryhelpful in situating and elucidating Atwood's fiction.
And yet, although she has successfully resisted the "postromantic collective delusion" of the unhappy, suicidal female artist and has opted for the "leaves-in-the-backyard" lifestyle she once thought "out of bounds," she is still plagued by the White Goddess who makes appearances in her life, "mainly as a fantasy projection on the part of certain male book reviewers, who seem to like the idea of my teeth sinking into some cringing male neck. I think of this as fifties nostalgia," Atwood remarks, sounding a lot like one of her fictional characters (xvi).