By J. Brooks Bouson
Brutal Choreographies investigates the novels of Margaret Atwood, targeting their mental and political issues. Drawing on fresh feminist and psychoanalytic idea, J. Brooks Bouson examines Atwood's ordinary self, kinfolk, and romantic dramas, her novelistic subversion of romantic love ideology, and her critique of gender and gear politics. Bouson additionally considers the oppositional ideas utilized in Atwood's novels: their punitive plotting and enactments of lady revenge fantasies, their dialogic resistance to romantic discourse, and their self-conscious manipulation and sabotage of romance and different conventional plot traces and conventions.
From the protofeminism of The suitable for eating Woman, the cultural feminism of Surfacing, and the exam of the perils of Gothic pondering in Lady Oracle to the household and sexual battle of Life ahead of Man, the anti-feminist backlash terrors of Bodily Harm and The Handmaid's Tale, and the ability politics of girl relationships in Cat's Eye, Atwood's women-centered fiction has powerful oppositional attraction. simply because Atwood doesn't shun what she calls the "story of the catastrophe that's the world," her stories are usually brutal, portraying lady victimization by the hands of the husband or male lover, the mum, or the feminine buddy. but when the Atwood novel has the ability to disturb, compel, and from time to time brutalize its reader, it's also rigorously choreographed, utilizing shape and layout to include and keep an eye on the feminine fears, anxieties, and anger that force the narrative.
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Additional info for Brutal choreographies: oppositional strategies and narrative design in the novels of Margaret Atwood
Although Marian initially takes Peter at face value, she soon becomes preoccupied with discovering "what lay hidden under the surface, under the other surfaces" of Peter, "that secret identity which in spite of her many guesses and attempts and half-successes she was aware she had still not uncovered" (62, 120). It is suggestive that Marian fantasizes that Peter might secretly be the Underwear Man, an obscene phone caller who poses as a representative of Seymour Surveys doing a study on underwear.
Similarly troubling were the "new, high standards in self-destructiveness" for women writers set by authors like Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton, which prompted others to ask Atwood "not whether but when" she was going to commit suicide (xvi). Despite her "unexpectations," Atwood's own story, unlike that found in many of her novels, does have a happy ending. And yet, although she has successfully resisted the "postromantic collective delusion" of the unhappy, suicidal female artist and has opted for the "leaves-in-the-backyard" lifestyle she once thought "out of bounds," she is still plagued by the White Goddess who makes appearances in her life, "mainly as a fantasy projection on the part of certain male book reviewers, who seem to like the idea of my teeth sinking into some cringing male neck.
While this passage clearly contains a political messagethrough Joe Bates, Atwood is telling her women readers to avoid such a fateit also gives voice to the key anxiety found in the text. And by informing readers of the thematic significance of the nightmarish experiences Marian is undergoing, this passage is further designed to assuage potential reader anxiety about being enmeshed in the increasingly pathological world of the text. Speaking a kind of body language, The Edible Woman reflects both the cultural identification of women with body and the pervasive fear of the uncontained, uncontrollable female body as it puts the "mature" female body on display and scrutinizes its isolated parts.