Reflections of Margaret Atwood's dystopias in the pandemic of 2020

Source document: Theory and Practice in English Studies. 2020, vol. 9, iss. 1-2, pp. [89]-108
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The paper focuses on Margaret Atwood's novels Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood and considers ways in which the pandemic of her dystopian world may, to various degrees, serve as a reflection of the COVID-19 global pandemic in 2020. The setting of both novels is the same dystopian world, however, they each present different ideological takes on dealing with a pandemic. The paper analyses the creation of Crakers as the new humanoid species, which are supposed to inhabit the earth in its post-pandemic state. It reflects not only political and social structures Atwood borrowed from the real-world, but also types of behavior that some political national leaders currently display. While the first novel addresses the issues of power, exploitation, and the God complex; The Year of the Flood, with its two female characters, investigates dealing with the pandemic via the lens of ecofeminism, ecology, nature, and sustainability. Conversely to Crake's elitist megalo-maniac ideas that leave the world and its state largely out of the discussion, in the second novel, Atwood connects to the ecology of the post-pandemic world and focuses on ways of understanding it from the natural, rather than ideological standpoint. The paper considers these opposing viewpoints and shows defamiliarized versions reflected in the current state of the real world. In relation to that, correlations between fictional and real-life dichotomies of masculine and feminine perspectives on handling the pandemic both in the real world as well as in the novel are also discussed.
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