Mellor, Rachael (2020) Exploring the manipulation of the natural world within Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and MaddAddam trilogy. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This thesis will explore the work of Margaret Atwood and will evaluate her texts to find ecocritical trends within both her newer, more explicitly environmental texts, and her older, traditionally feminist works. It will focus upon the manipulation of the natural within her literary worlds, exploring the role of literature in identifying environmental issues facing both the natural world and humanity. The primary focus will be upon both The Handmaid’s Tale and The Maddaddam trilogy, considering the exploitation of bodies, space/place and language to achieve power over the natural world. Through this, it will highlight the difficulty in truly defining ‘nature’ when nature becomes a commodified, ever-changing entity.

It will also explore the dynamic between humanity and the natural world itself and analyse the relationship that Atwood portrays between the two. Through considering the power dynamic between humanity and the planet, it will question whether it is possible to change a destructive, anthropocentric, manipulative relationship to a non-abusive, harmonious connection between human and non-human nature.

These texts will be viewed comparatively to argue that Atwood’s environmental focus has always been rooted within her work, but has just become more prevalent as real life environmental concerns have grown. The thesis considers the power of literature and narrative itself as a vehicle for changing relationships with the world in order to incite a more positive and harmonious interconnection between humanity and the planet.

FINAL THESIS - Mellor.pdf - Accepted Version
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