Rewriting Politics, or the Emerging Fourth Wave of Feminism in Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments
Keywords:feminism, women's writing, politics, The Handmaid's Tale, sequel, Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) has recently returned to the spotlight with the success of its TV adaptation and with her decision to deliver a sequel. Speculative fiction invites speculative criticism; in this spirit, this paper investigates The Testaments (2019), tracing the rewriting of politics embedded in the narrative. Whilst the inspiration for The Handmaid’s Tale came from the rise of Christian fundamentalism, it is obvious from Atwood’s more recent statements that she considers the Trump era “a rollback of women’s rights” (2018). The slogan of second-wave feminists, ‘the personal is political,’ is now as topical as it was in the 1960s, and The Testaments may well become a literary manifesto of a new (fourth) wave as part of the storm surge of feminism. Therefore, before turning to Atwood, an outline of the chronological clashes of feminism(s) and a discussion on women and language is presented. This is followed by an examination of the three main characters and representatives of ideas.
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