Hegemonic Masculinity in Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale : A gender analysis on the masculinity of the two characters Luke and the Commander in Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale

University essay from Karlstads universitet

Abstract: This essay deals with how Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) works as a critique of the patriarchal hierarchy and the values it brings. This is portrayed in a dystopic setting in which women are subordinate to men, but also men being subordinate and marginalized by other men. Based on a gender theory on masculinities, an analysis is made on two male characters; Luke and the Commander. Both characters gain advantages in society because of hegemonic masculinity. One of them gains advantages in pre-Gilead society, and the other in the Gilead society. The focus of the analysis is on the similarities of the two characters’ connection to hegemonic masculinity. Even though, they live in different periods of history.

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