Date of Award
Anne Boyd Rioux
Ellen Shelby Richardson Lovell
Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale presents a dystopian world in which women have lost all individualism and have been reduced to breeding machines. This paper analyzes the patriarchal characteristics of The Handmaid’s Tale by using a Darwinian feminist theory to understand the evolutionary psychological root of male control of women in the narrative. Additionally, this in-depth reading relies on David Geary’s analysis of male and female mating dynamics and Barbara Smuts’ study of the evolution of patriarchy in humans to further give evidence to the evolutionary root of Gilead’s patriarchy. The men of Gilead control women through creating a fundamentalist biblical society, eliminating economic and educational resources for women, forcing women into becoming surrogates, implementing uniforms, and instilling social isolation; each of these cultural changes can be further explained through Darwinian feminism.
Petersen, Morgan N., "A Darwinian Feminist Analysis of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale" (2020). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 2760.