The Hysteric as a Chronicler in Margaret Atwood's the Handmaid's Tale

Chatterjee, Srirupa and Ghosal, N (2014) The Hysteric as a Chronicler in Margaret Atwood's the Handmaid's Tale. The IUP Journal of English Studies, VIII (4). pp. 32-40. ISSN 0973 3728

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Abstract

Survival, a signature theme in Margaret Atwood’s works, is once again celebrated in The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) wherein the narrator protagonist transforms herself into a chronicler and using her narrative sustains herself in a fictionalized dystopic world—Gilead. The present paper claims that the protagonist, Offred, in negotiating her agency as a chronicler in a totalitarian phallogocentric world, adopts the role of a ‘hysteric’. This argument is premised on Juliet Mitchell’s psychoanalytic concept of the hysteric which claims that for a woman to produce her narrative in a phallogocentric world, she has to be a hysteric. Furthering this thesis, Offred’s past and present in the novel are compared to the Lacanian Imaginary and the Symbolic, thereby demonstrating that the narrator protagonist’s life is never free from the dictates of phallogocentric law. In order to survive such oppression, Offred, in The Handmaid’s Tale, becomes a hysteric chronicler whose narrative simultaneously becomes the symbol of her resistance and her means to survive.

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IITH Creators:
IITH CreatorsORCiD
Chatterjee, Srirupahttp://orcid.org/0000-0002-7978-4324
Item Type: Article
Subjects: Literature > English & old english literatures
Divisions: Department of Liberal Arts
Depositing User: Mr. Siva Shankar K
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2014 11:09
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2017 05:37
URI: http://raiith.iith.ac.in/id/eprint/14
Publisher URL: http://www.iupindia.in/English_Studies.asp
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