Surviving the patriarchy (mostly) intact: mothers and daughters in selected works by Margaret Atwood

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Morrison, Dorothea Rae
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of English
Probably Canada’s best-known author, Margaret Atwood has defined Canadian literature not only through her successful ‘doing’ of it, but also through her critical work. This thesis explores her first three novels, The Edible Woman (1969), Surfacing (1972) and Lady Oracle (1976), as well as Cat’s Eye (1988), through the lens of contemporaneous works by Luce Irigaray. Atwood’s representations of women have one important consistency: the troubling, or outright subversion, of idealized concepts of women, particularly in the relationships between mothers and daughters. Women struggle both with and against each other in order to find, or keep, a sense of self-identity and path within the patriarchal, and often explicitly misogynistic, culture which permeates their lives. This focus exposes the often-contradictory social pressures and expectations held for women by the heteronormative and patriarchal culture which refuses to recognize women’s legitimacy outside of their relationship to men.
Atwood, Margaret, 1939 - Cat's eye , Atwood, Margaret, 1939 - Edible woman , Atwood, Margaret, 1939 - Lady Oracle , Atwood, Margaret, 1939 - Surfacing , Atwood, Margaret, 1939 --- Criticism and interpretation , Patriarchy