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Fight for the Female
Margaret Atwood, a contemporary Canadian author, has been classified as one of this centuryís' most feminist, and near dystopian novelists. Her works illustrate how feminism has caused the downfall of contemporary society. Margaret Atwood, a prominent feminist author of the twentieth century, is driven by her sense of social reform and her realistic view of a disturbed society to produce works such as The Handmaids Tale.
Atwood was born on November 18, 1943 in Ottawa, Ontario. In her earlier years as a child, she lived in the Canadian wilderness where her father was an entomologist. He studied and observed insects. Atwood is the second of three children of Margaret Dorothy Kilam and Dr. Carl Edmund Atwood (Brimrose 3). Her parents were both strong and independent minded parents who wanted their children to be the same (3). The Atwoods were a mile, by water, to the nearest village. There was no radio, television, movie theater, or children, other than her brother who was two years older. She attributes her outsidersí eye to this unconventional childhood (Bedell 2). When Atwood finally go to venture into the city, all social groups seemed to her equally bizarre, all artefacts and habits peculiar and strange ( 2).
A childhood divided between summers in the woodlands of Quebec, and winters in many different Canadian cities, is what Atwood credits her lust for reading, thus a love for writing, to (Brimrose 2). She used reading as a means of entertainment. Atwood centered her reading on Grimms Fairy Tales and George Orwells Animal Farm, both of which created a dark prototype of victim and victimizer (Rice 37). In speech in 1995, Atwood said that her literary career began at age sixteen when she crossed the schoolyard on her way home. I was scuttling along in my usual furtive way; suspecting no ill, when a large thumb descended from the sky and pressed down on the top of my head. A poem formed (Casciato 2).
At the age of six, Atwood was writing poems, mortality plays, comic books, and an unfinished novel about an ant (Rice 3). Ten years later Atwood decided her goal in life is to write. She wanted to live a double life; to go places I havenít been; to examine people in ways, and at depths, that are otherwise impossible; to be surprisedÖto give back something of what [I have] received (3). Since the majority of her childhood was spent in the Canadian wilderness, finding her way through anything, canoeing, and hunting, Atwood developed a great deal of self-confidence (Brimrose 3) This self regard is recognized profoundly in her writing.
By the time Atwood left high school she had decided she wanted to write. Her high school yearbook quote had stated that her goal was to write the great Canadian novel (Bedell 3). Soon after she graduated from high school, in 1961, Atwood published her first book of poetry entitled Double Persephone (Brimrose 3). Publishing was a goal for Atwood that she had now successfully achieved. Atwood figures writing poetry and hopefully publishing a few books would be sufficient for her. Her education was more important to herself as well as her parents. Atwood moved on to attend the University of Toronto, Victoria College majoring in English. Around this time, according to her English friend Xandra Bingley, she spent a summer vactiondelivering census forms in a run down, poverty-stricken area of Quebec, and decided that though she wanted to be a writer, she definitely didnít want to be poor (Bedell 3).
After graduation from Victoria College, the young poet was at the beginning of her literary career. She was now publishing in Canadian literary magazines including the critically acclaimed Mcleans magazine (Hubbard 3). Various poems and short stories game her some recognition, but Atwood decided it wasnít enough. She wanted to yet further her education and discover if writing was really the right career path she was destined for. Even though she loved writing, the influence of her parents, as well as her experiences in Quebec, had put a damper on her dreams. Atwoods parents were wary about her desire to write because they didnít want her to starve to death (Rice 3). Her parents were set on the idea that she should be a biologist because not only was it in the family but a female writer had always been looked down upon. Again, Atwood wanted to acquire personal success but didnít want to be poor.
When Atwood began her formative years at Radcliffe, the all women university at Harvard, she realized she didnít care about starving, she only wanted to write (Rice 3). Not only was Atwood sure about her career she also discovered what she wanted to write about, feminism. The intensely chauvinistic atmosphere mortified her: among other things female student were not allowed to access the universitys modern poetry collection in the Lamont Library (Brimrose 2). Atwood lived her childhood in fairness and equality. She was raised to be independent. The environment in which she grew up was not one of unfairness and inequality. In the Atwood household Mrs. Atwood ruled the roost (Brimrose 4). So coming to the United States, and witnessing the unfair treatment of women was an enormous culture shock for her.
When Atwood first decided she wanted to become a writer she was convinced she was beating a dead horse. Atwood states that:
It was because of all those biographies of women write
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