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Structuralist analysis of Margaret Atwood's novels The Handmaid's Tale, Cat's Eye, and The Robber Bride


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Željezić, Ana. (2014). Structuralist analysis of Margaret Atwood's novels The Handmaid's Tale, Cat's Eye, and The Robber Bride. Diploma Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of English Language and Literature. [mentor Polić, Vanja].

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Analysis of three novels by Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale, Cat's Eye and The Robberbride) utilises notions of structuralism and Linda Hutcheon's historiographical metafiction in order to establish whether these three works can be connected on a deeper level. The novels follow a similar structural template, having a female first-person unreliable narrator(s) coming to terms with her (their) history through fragmented memories. The Robber Bride is the only one of the three which has multiple points of view. The relationship between fact and fiction along with the novels' overt claims of historicity provide a basis for asking questions about ommitted parts of the narrative. The narrators provide the information according to their own will, under the cover of claiming the presence of traumas and repressed memories. They are homodiegetic (present inside the story; moreover, protagonists) and overt (letting their presence and free will be known). Setting is an essential part of the narratives, contributing to the mood and atmosphere of the story. All three of the narratives take place mostly inside protagonists' minds. Self-reflexivity is an important feature of the narrators, who in numerous occassions admit they are deliberately changing the story or leaving parts out. Also, a presence of tone change when narrating the past signifies a sort of artificiality. The Handmaid's Tale seems to be an exception; however, it is a narrative of oppression and secrecy and therefore it may be more difficult to claim the reasons for the same narrative tone throughout the novel. The novel's protagonists are round characters, prone to change, which occurs multiple times during the narrative. They uncover layers of memory and of themselves, and avoid simplification. The reader must be quick to adapt to changes in order to properly follow the narrative.

Item Type: Diploma Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: structuralist, historiographical metafiction, unreliable narrator, homodiegetic narrator, point of view
Subjects: English language and literature
Departments: Department of English Language and Literature
Supervisor: Polić, Vanja
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2018 13:55
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2018 13:55

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