Analyze what Margaret Atwood is saying about gender relations (feminism) in her novel

Margaret Atwood, a well-known Canadian writer, a poet, a literary critic and a feminist presents an interesting phenomenon in the modern fiction literature. As different from other authors, Atwood doesn’t ignore the scientific developments, at the same time studying it from the perspective of a woman. It is wrong to state, that science belongs to the main concerns of the writer; in reality, she managed to prove, that sometimes modern physics could contribute to presentation of women’s experience (Gibson, 13). She used the basic laws of physic to describe the major themes in her writings, namely “the formation of feminine identity, the construction of personal past and cultural theory, body image, colonization”ť (Gibson, 17). Margaret Atwood’s Lady Oracle presents a reflection of the author’s attitude to gender relations and her feministic views.

With the help of the protagonist of the novel ”“ Joan Foster, Atwood built a link between the woman writer and the Gothic genre, tried to express her attitude to relations between men and women. Within the whole story, the main heroin experiences a lot of changes, which directly reflect upon her writer’s and personal identities. This is not the first time when Atwood used the image of food, and in Lady Oracle – it is related to initial image of the heroin: “I was eating steadily, doggedly, stubbornly, anything I could get. The war between myself and my mother was on in earnest; the disputed territory was my body”ť (Atwood, 69). Joan was absolutely not satisfied with herself, suffered from lack of mother’s love and care and from derision of her schoolmates. In order to escape from the unpleasant memories of the past, Joan starts to invent stories, she acknowledges herself: “when it came to fantasy lives I was a professional”ť (Atwood, 216). In her made-up stories there was no place for neglected teenager with low self esteem.

However, the stories contribute to development of Gothic writer’s style of Joan later.

The transition of Joan Foster from totally unhappy plump child, having constant problems with her mother, to an absolutely different person, having so little to do with the initial image, starts already at the beginning of the novel, when the readers find the main heroin hiding in some Italian village being afraid of the blackmail. This transition the author used a basis for developing her feministic approach. The crisis of Joan roots from the many sides of herself “As Joan, she is the colorless wife of Arthur, a pompous graduate student who spends most of his time flitting from one tiny leftist movement to another. As Louisa K. Delacourt, she is an enthusiastic writer of the sort of quickie Gothics that are sold to the dime stores she claims to work at when she’s really at the library doing costume research”ť (Woodcock, 25). The main heroin is trying to seize the full control of her life and death and even to plan them, but she fails, all the time the curves of her life break the frames, built by the Joan or by other heroes, for example by her mother ”“ “Joan’s body “[swells] visibly, relentlessly”ť beyond the territory her mother has designated (Atwood, 67).

Overall, the novel Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood is not based on metaphors and myths, as some other writings of the writer, instead, the reader finds himself in the world of “stock figures”ť, sudden insights and feminist concentration. There is even the point of view, that when presenting the Joan’s attitude to Gothics, the author in fact aimed at presenting her own relation to her writings. The feminist position, reflected in Lady Oracle is not simply the ideal woman, who appeared after transformation of the clumsy unhappy child, but the way itself, which the child and the young girl had to come for finding or even building her own identity.

Leave a Reply