Feminism In Literature

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From the outset, literature and all forms of art have been used to express their author’s feelings, opinions, ideas, and believes. Accordingly, many authors have resorted to their writing to express their feminist ideas, but first we must define what feminism is. According to the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, feminism is “the belief that women should be allowed the same rights, power, and opportunities as men and be treated in the same way, or the set of activities intended to achieve this state”. As early as the fifteenth century is possible to find feminist writings. Centuries later, and although she never referred to herself as one, the famous English writer Virginia Woolf became one of the greatest feminist writers of the twentieth…show more content…
More recently, the awarded Canadian writer Margaret Atwood has also focused mainly on women’s issues and has been regarded as a feminist writer. In “The Handmaid’s Tale”, published in 1985 Margaret Atwood portrays a strongly feminist view of a dystopian society, in which women have been deprived of all their rights. Both of these writers are representatives of the female feminist writers who have let their footprint in our literary history, and each of them expressed her concerns on women’s rights according to their lives and the time they were living in. In A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf (1929) emphasizes the inequity of treatment for women throughout times that still persists in her society, and promotes her thesis that "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction" (p. 6). With that purpose in mind, she revises some aspects of women’s place/absence in history, society, and literature and mixed it with some fiction in order to explain how she came to adopt that thesis. For example, she asks herself what would have happened if Shakespeare…show more content…
Furthermore, the author displays a dystopian society completely dominated by a totalitarian and theocratic state. The main subject of this novel is the role assigned to women, mainly represented by the handmaids. In Gilead, the made-up country where the novel takes place, women are completely subjected by the government, and especially by men, who clearly have a higher status than women. Moreover, women’s freedom is entirely restricted, as they cannot leave their house at their will, they are forbidden to hold properties or jobs, they cannot read or write, and they are treated as sexual slaves whose only purpose in life is to bear children for elite spouses. The other option is a miserable, short life at the Colonies (a type of concentration camp), and death. In this frightening society, women are not allowed to speak freely, therefore, the handmaids learn how to lip-read, and to whisper at one another while they are at the Red Center (where handmaids are trained for their mission), as their only way to communicate with another person, and to maintain even a minimum of human contact in a society that has amputated their ability to feel as a normal human being. Even though this is pure fiction, sadly some common threads between Gilead and our society can be found. For instance, in some South Asian countries, women’s rights are non-existent, they are treated

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