By J. Brooks Bouson
Brutal Choreographies investigates the novels of Margaret Atwood, concentrating on their mental and political issues. Drawing on fresh feminist and psychoanalytic conception, J. Brooks Bouson examines Atwood's habitual self, relations, and romantic dramas, her novelistic subversion of romantic love ideology, and her critique of gender and gear politics. Bouson additionally considers the oppositional ideas utilized in Atwood's novels: their punitive plotting and enactments of lady revenge fantasies, their dialogic resistance to romantic discourse, and their self-conscious manipulation and sabotage of romance and different conventional plot traces and conventions.
From the protofeminism of The fit to be eaten Woman, the cultural feminism of Surfacing, and the exam of the perils of Gothic considering in Lady Oracle to the family 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 lady relationships in Cat's Eye, Atwood's women-centered fiction has robust oppositional charm. simply because Atwood doesn't shun what she calls the "story of the catastrophe that is the world," her stories are frequently brutal, portraying woman 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 rigorously choreographed, utilizing shape and layout to comprise and regulate the feminine fears, anxieties, and anger that force the narrative.
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Extra info for Brutal choreographies: oppositional strategies and narrative design in the novels of Margaret Atwood
Neutralizing the male threat to women, she insists that men are "fun to play Scrabble with and handy for eating up the leftovers. I have heard some rather tired women express the opinion that the only good man is a dead man, but this is far from correct" (414). In a deliberate parody of some of her male critics' fantasies about her lethal powers as a female artist, Atwood asks if perhaps "men still think something they need will fall off them if they look too hard at certain supposedly malevolent combinations of words put together by women" (424).
Her feminine role and her core," as he explains, "are really in opposition, her feminine role demands passivity from her. . So she allows her core to get taken over by the husband. And when the kids come, she wakes up one morning and discovers she doesn't have anything left inside, she's hollow, she doesn't know who she is any more; her core has been destroyed" (242). To be "invaded" is to be rendered void within as the self is "taken over" and assimilated. While this passage clearly contains a political messagethrough Joe Bates, Atwood is telling her women readers to avoid such a fateit also gives voice to the key anxiety found in the text.
Observing the other women as they eat and talk, Marian is struck by their "dune-like contours of breast and waist and hip; their fluidity sustained somewhere within by bones," and she is both fascinated with and repulsed by "the continual flux between the outside and the inside, taking things in, giving them out, chewing, words . . babies, milk, excrement" (171). Insistently the narrative thematizes Marian's anxietyher "bridal nerves" (212)as symptomatic of her repudiation of her femininity.