Essay on Feminist Criticism Of The Handmaid 's Tale

1607 Words Dec 2nd, 2015 7 Pages
Feminist Theory Within The Handmaid’s Tale
Feminist criticism is a literary approach that seeks to distinguish the human experience from the male experience. Feminist critics draw attention to the ways in which patriarchal social structures purloined women while male authors have capitalized women in their portrayal of them. This movement did not gain recognition until the late 1960’s and 1970’s. There are many feminist criticism approaches to literature. In the 1970’s, The Second Wave of Feminism occurred known as Gynocriticism, which was pioneered by Elaine Showalter. Gynocriticism “exposes the mechanisms of patriarchy and the cultural ‘mind-set’ in men and women which perpetuated sexual inequality” (Barry 117), and involves three major aspects. The three aspects are the feminine phase, feminist phase, and a female phase. Margaret Atwood’s writing is highly feminist, especially in her novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” which is a direct example of Feminist Criticism within the ‘Female’ Phase because her writing was one of self-discovery and focuses centrally on female experience. There are numerous approaches that exist in feminist criticism; this paper will be focusing on six of those areas of commonality.
In many ways Atwood’s writing exhibits what Christopher Jones identifies as a “reinvigorated hatred of women and the explosive growth of religious (patriarchal) fundamentalism” (Callaway 5). What does Atwood’s work reveal about the operations of patriarchy? Women are…

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