Environmental dystopias: Margaret Atwood and the monstrous child

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Abstract

The future of childhood is often described in terms of utopian thinking. Here, the turn is towards dystopia as a fertile source of wild imaginings about the future. The dystopian literary fictions featured here act as a message and are projections of an uneasy future requiring a reader to see the present differently. Such projections make reading dangerous as they create an alternative world often disorderly and dismissive of contexts that are familiar and safe. In these scenarios, the child is often a key figure. In the work by Atwood (Oryx and Crake; The Year of the Flood; MaddAddam), the world is an environmental nightmare. The focus is on MaddAddam, in which the child is an object of desire and both monstrous and redemptive. A reading of MaddAddam as a posthuman text is undertaken and it is argued that Atwood's dystopia creates a discourse of monstrosity (both weird and beautiful) that contaminates thoughts about the child/children/childhood and the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-640
Number of pages14
JournalDiscourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education
Volume37
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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