The Mothers, Daughters, Sisters: The Intergenerational Transmission of Womanhood in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments
Keywords:feminism, The Handmaid's Tale, The Testaments, Margaret Atwood
The article reads The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments as a response to changes in the feminist movement. Less radical than their mothers’ generation, second-wave feminists’ daughters often abandoned the struggle for equality and focused on homemaking. Nevertheless, the 1990s saw a resurgence of the women’s liberation movement known as the third wave. These feminism(s) significantly redefined the notion of womanhood and emphasised the diversity of the female. After 2010, critics argue, third-wave feminism entered the fourth wave. This analysis of The Handmaid’s Tale focuses on Offred’s relationship with her mother, which is representative of the wider phenomenon of the Backlash. It investigates how the mother and her generation influenced the maternal choices of the Handmaid and discusses the trauma of child removal suffered by Offred. The final section examines The Testaments through the lens of third-wave feminism and analyzes the plight of Offred’s daughters, focusing on their attitudes towards womanhood and maternity.
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