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Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale

Hélène Greven

Résumé   |   Fiche technique

The Handmaid's Tale (1985), by Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, revisits the Anglo-American utopian/dystopian tradition. Appealing to imaginative fiction and the novel of ideas, the construction of perfect — or nightmarish — worlds rouses the reader's socio-political awareness of the present and invites questions on the shape of the near furure. The Handmaid's Tale deconstructs the utopian narrative by breaking the chronological order of the female protagonist's experience into a time-shifting testimony, a quest for meaning and an exploration of self versus the other. The intricate play on word and symbol can be read against the historical background of seventeenth-century New England Puritanism, as well as the twentieth-century New Right and women's rights movements, while inviting reference to the postmodernist outlook. This volume includes a bibliography, a study of the book's context, as well as essays and commentaries ; the approach has been adapted to the needs of Capes and Agrégation students.

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