Discussing the Feminist Agenda in Margaret Atwood’s Dystopian Novels

"The Handmaid’s Tale" and "MaddAddam"





Atwood, Feminist Dystopia, Endings and Dystopias, Transgressive Utopias


In this article, an analysis is made of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) and MaddAddam (2013) from a gendered and generic perspective. The Handmaid’s Tale was one of the novels that marked the dystopian turn in the 1980s writing of fiction, while MaddAddam is, for some critics, a feminist critical dystopia in which the ending retains hope for a better future. Consequently, both novels belong a priori to a specific branch of the dystopian genre: the feminist dystopian novel. However, some ambiguity or even contradictory readings can be inferred in both texts. This article explores The Handmaid’s Tale and MaddAddam’s portrayal of women and their acts of resistance in order to assess these texts’ liberatory or still inherently conservative messages of their endings, especially regarding women.


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Author Biography

Esther Muñoz González, Universidad de Zaragoza

Research fellow at the Department of English and German Philology of the University of Zaragoza


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How to Cite

Muñoz González, E. (2022). Discussing the Feminist Agenda in Margaret Atwood’s Dystopian Novels: "The Handmaid’s Tale" and "MaddAddam". Journal of English Studies, 20, 179–196. https://doi.org/10.18172/jes.4809