The Testaments: The Difference within the Gileadean World
Keywords:Margaret Atwood, gynesis, postmodern feminism, dystopia, misogyny
Margaret Atwood’s recent dystopian novel The Testaments (2019) revisits The Handmaid’s Tale by depicturing Gilead’s nightmarish world of the patriarchal order, which is established especially against women’s potency. The sequel reminds the contemporary readers of Offred and her miseries who told the categorised women of Gilead functioning as the Wives, Handmaids, and Marthas. This time, with three different female figures, Baby Nicole, Agnes, and Aunt Lydia, as protagonists/ narrators, who take place on the edges of the Gileadean order, Atwood transforms the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, told by Offred. The novel encircles Offred’s tale by shedding light on the subsequent events told by the second-generation women (Agnes and Nicole) and comprises the prequel parts that Aunt Lydia provides. In this way, to “destabilise [the] unitary vision of the subject and open it up to the multiple and complex reconfigurations of diversity and multiple belongings, so as to [emphasise] … the internal fractures within each subject-position, or the ‘difference within’” with this follow-up text. With the streaming narratives of the three women who set forth the intersected phases to destroy the totalitarian regime and reached “identities of their own,” the sequel maintains the intriguing magic of the Gileadean tales. This article aims to trace the outlooks of different female narrators who procure a dimension of “gynesis” through which the re-exhibited Gilead comes to its end via women who have taken part in the period of dissolution.
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