"Like Calling God a Studmuffin": Women's Relationships with Self and Others Within the Commodifying Patriarchy of Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam Trilogy
Bracewell, Corianne Christine 1995-
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The MaddAddam trilogy by Margaret Atwood is a devastating evaluation of its female characters’ position and value within their collapsing and commodifying society. Although the trilogy opens with narrative focus on Jimmy, a self-interested and privileged character who grew up in a regulated Compound and who survived the pandemic that wiped out most of humanity, the experiences of Atwood’s female characters drive the commentary on devastation outlined by the trilogy. Atwood’s focus is not on the impact of a widespread contagious medical plague, but rather on the impact and plague of a patriarchal consumerist society on the valuation of the individual, specifically the individual woman. This paper explores the narrative authority of prominent women within the MaddAddam trilogy and their relationships with themselves, their male counterparts, and each other, to determine the novels’ representations of the impact of hegemonic systems on individual characters and interactions. Although in the aftermath of this pandemic the overt patriarchal system is dismantled and characters such as Toby and Ren can reconnect with themselves and with those around them, the rebuilding of society after its collapse reaffirms the presence of patriarchal values, suggesting that even when a society such as that explored in the MaddAddam trilogy is wiped clean, patriarchal echoes will re-emerge in the rebuilding of a structured collective.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeLeow, Joanne; Banco, Lindsey
Copyright DateNovember 2019