Date of Completion

Spring 5-8-2020

Thesis Advisor(s)

Regina Barreca

Honors Major



English Language and Literature | Literature in English, Anglophone outside British Isles and North America | Literature in English, North America | Modern Literature | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Women's Studies


Margaret Atwood has often been criticized as a bad feminist writer for featuring villainous, cruel women. Atwood has combatted this criticism by pointing out that evil women exist in life, so they should in literature as well. Every story requires a villain and a victim, for Atwood these roles are both usually played by women. This thesis will explore the idea of the woman as spectacle in both behavior and body. Women are controlled by the idea that they must care. When they stop caring, they become a threat. At the heart of Atwood’s writing are the relationships between women both bitter and powerful. This thesis examines the relationships through which women control other women, as well as the destabilizing power of female alliances. The final section of this thesis will examine how in creating double or multiple versions of the self, women can act out antisocial behavior, undermine male narratives, and participate in the phallocentric practice of writing.