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An Analysis of the Postmodern Features in the Blind Assassin

Author YanXiaoMin
Tutor ZhangYun
School Hunan University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Margaret Atwood The Blind Assassin postmodernism postmodern features
CLC I711.074
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Acclaimed as“the Queen of Canadian literature”, Margaret Atwood (1939-) is a prestigious contemporary woman writer with international celebrity. She has received numerous awards and honors for her achievement in the theme and creative arts of her works. As the winner of the Booker Prize (the most important literary award in the UK), The Blind Assassin—her tenth novel in 2000, is regarded as her art of storytelling to new height.This thesis attempts to interpret The Blind Assassin from the perspective of postmodern theory, analyzing the postmodern features of the novel from two aspects: themes and writing techniques. The following three questions will be carefully explored in the thesis. What are the postmodern themes and writing techniques in The Blind Assassin? How are these postmodern features presented in the novel? What are the functions of these postmodern features in the novel? The thesis consists of four chapters and the conclusion. Chapter One is the introduction. It first gives a brief introduction to the background of the study, including introduction of Atwood and her works. Then it introduces The Blind Assassin and the literature review of the novel. At last the purpose and structure of the thesis are put forward. Chapter Two is an introduction to postmodern theory, including postmodernism, postmodern features and the relation between Atwood and postmodernism. Chapter Three and Chapter Four are the backbone of this thesis, devoted to the specific analysis of postmodern features. Chapter Three discusses postmodern themes of the novel, in which mainly two sets of binary opposition, namely, male/female and reality /imagination. Besides, postmodern view of history is suggested in the novel. Chapter Four discusses several postmodern writing techniques in The Blind Assassin. Not only transgressions of genres and intertextuality embody postmodern features, Atwood’s use of indeterminacy and metafiction also represents postmodern essence. The last part concludes the above-analyzed parts and summarizes the postmodern features and their functions in the novel. The interpretation of postmodern features aims at revealing the high artistry and experimental writing techniques and the rich intension of the novel, providing a fresh appreciation of the novel. The postmodern features in the novel reveal Atwood’s deep concern for Canadian history and females’fate in the male-dominated society, revealing women’s miserable sufferings in the male-dominated society, sharply attacking the male-dominated society and criticizing the real world full of war and violence, class oppression and exploitation, female sacrifice and pain at that time. Meanwhile, she calls forth women’s self-awaking. It points out Atwood is a master of postmodern writing, combining postmodern features with The Blind Assassin successfully, and also shows Atwood’s strong responsibility.

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