Rhetorical Analysis Of Margaret Atwood's Spotty Handed Villainesses

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Margaret Atwood’s speech “Spotty Handed Villainesses” explores Patriarchy, feminism and “bad” women in literature. She uses wit and humour to disarm the audience and often uses anti-climatic statements to grab the audience’s attention. Margaret Atwood’s speech resonates through time with her critical study of feminism in a social context and the impact that feminism has had on literature. In the speech Atwood explores the moral dichotomy that exists in Women at the time. She shows how women can only be categorised as either an angel or a whore. It shows the way that women can only be judged at the time. She also frequently alludes to the “bad” women in literature to show how women could only be categorised in those binary opposites like Lady Macbeth or Eve. She uses rhetorical devices to explain how bad women are needed to disrupt the static order which is Patriarchy. Atwood also shows her opposition to the extreme feminism that existed in her time where feminism was influencing the creation of literature at the time.…show more content…
“The critic asks “is this believable?” The novelist, “how can I get them to believe this”? In short she argues that a good novelist always has some sort of conflict to tell and it must be suspenseful. “Something other than breakfast”. She uses witty humour to loosen the audience up. Atwood discusses the several genres of fiction that are available in this time and explains how this is not only a time of gender crossover but of genre crossover. By using the comparison she shows how literature has evolved as well as gender relations. In conclusion Margaret Atwood’s speech “spotty handed villainess” is a speech that explores the flaws in extreme feminism, challenges the patriarchal order and examines the intentions of literature and fiction. The speech still has relevance today as it examines gender roles and expectations in modern day
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