By J. Brooks Bouson
Brutal Choreographies investigates the novels of Margaret Atwood, targeting their mental and political matters. Drawing on fresh feminist and psychoanalytic idea, J. Brooks Bouson examines Atwood's routine self, relatives, and romantic dramas, her novelistic subversion of romantic love ideology, and her critique of gender and tool politics. Bouson additionally considers the oppositional thoughts utilized in Atwood's novels: their punitive plotting and enactments of girl revenge fantasies, their dialogic resistance to romantic discourse, and their self-conscious manipulation and sabotage of romance and different conventional plot strains and conventions.
From the protofeminism of The fit for human consumption Woman, the cultural feminism of Surfacing, and the exam of the perils of Gothic considering in Lady Oracle to the family and sexual war of Life prior to Man, the anti-feminist backlash terrors of Bodily Harm and The Handmaid's Tale, and the ability politics of lady relationships in Cat's Eye, Atwood's women-centered fiction has robust oppositional charm. simply because Atwood doesn't shun what she calls the "story of the catastrophe that is 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 every now and then brutalize its reader, it's also rigorously choreographed, utilizing shape and layout to include and regulate 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
Because romantic love assigns her the male-defined feminine roles she wishes to escape and insists that she consent to femininity, her romantic affiliation with Peter leads not to heightened self-definition but to a frightening sense of self-diminishment. Fearing assimilation by the archaic mother, she finds herself, instead, being slowly assimilatedtaken overby Peter. As Peter increasingly dominates her and invades her "core" self, Marian becomes plagued by narcissistic fears of body-self disintegration.
I'm camouflaging him as laundry and taking him down to bury him in the ravine," she tells Ainsley (94)she learns to silence this voice when she is with Peter and subject to his social control. "I was about to make a sharp comment, but repressed it,'' Marian remarks. "Well you needn't bite my head off," she says to Peter, thinking to herself that she would have to "watch how she spoke" to him (64, 116). "[L]ife isn't run by principles but by adjustments," Marian tells herself (104), as she becomes increasingly dominated by Peter and thus assumes the preestablished feminine role assigned to her by romantic ideology: that of the passive sexual object.
The ultimate signifier of personal and social well-being" (137, 65, 66). Although romantic wedlock has lost its privileged position in the twentieth-century novel, love-plot formulas and formats persist in depictions of the heterosexual relationship (13437). But there is also a long counter-tradition in the history of the novel involving the demystification and undoing of the romantic love code. If the novel can "encode and perpetuate" the dominant ideology and thus conserve the status quo, remarks Boone, it is also "a genre that is potentially noncanonical, inherently multivocal, and profoundly invested in the ideological dismantling of a unitary worldview" (2, 4).