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Date of Award

10-1990

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Supervisor

Ronald Granofsky

Language

English

Abstract

This thesis examines Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale with the purpose of showing that her combination of carnivalesque and postmodern writing enhances the reader's understanding of the social bonds between people of unequal power (authority). The use of the narrator/icon that relates to an oral culture and the juxtaposition of various scenarios in which women participate highlight the sources of power that particularly affect women.

The introduction establishes the tale as a fantasy whose grotesque realism is rooted in medieval carnival. Chapter I describes the literary devices of carnival as they apply to The Handmaid's Tale. Chapter II focuses on the polyphonic narrator/icon and the chanson de geste form of the tale. Chapter II part (b) discusses the postmodern technique which allows inclusion of the historical material that relates past and present.

McMaster University Library

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