Margaret Atwood Questions and Answers

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How has Margret Atwood helped to define her literary period by trying to reach out to everyone?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think that Atwood represents a postmodern approach to literature and to consciousness in seeking to broaden her own experience in the hopes of including others in it.  Atwood writes about what it means to be Canadian, an approach that brings more people into the narrative.  Rather than be content with the vision of Canada that is simplistically reductive, she wishes to discuss how Canada feels some level of threat and challenge in being in the literal and figurative shadow cast by the United States.  This is an approach that wishes to include more voices in its repudiation of the standard view.  At the same time, I think that Atwood has to be seen as someone who writes works that includes the voices of women, as opposed to silencing them.  Whether or not she would consider herself a "feminist" is something that she might certainly debate.  Yet, I think that some of her works help to define the postmodern period in which she writes by including the predicaments of women within it.  For example,The Edible Womanspeaks to the commoditization of women, the result of commodity fetishism applied to the female predicament. The Handmaid's Talearticulates a condition of female oppression.  These would be example of how Atwood recognizes the need to legitimize the voices of those who might be silenced by the traditional narrative, seeking to include more and bring more people into her own construction of literature and her read on the postmodern literary period.

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