Kate Atwood 's The Robber Bride

1538 WordsJan 5, 20167 Pages
Unravelling Gender Roles in The Robber Bride Margaret Atwood’s novel The Robber Bride is a postmodern work of fiction which explores and unravels gender as a socio-cultural construct. It deals with how society and culture imprison both men and women into constructed stereotypes of masculinity and femininity attributing both men and women gender specific traits. The novel not only questions essentialist notion of gender identities as fixed and stable but also challenges the differences attributed to men and women owing to their biological sex. These biological differences in sex construct the gap between men and women’s position in patriarchal society exalting a man 's status and marginalizing women. In her novel, Atwood constructs the female character Zenia as a robber bride, a ‘man-eater’ and a trickster who embodies and represents the traits not only of femininity but also those that are associated with masculinity. The trickster figure can be defined in literature and legend usually as, “a male, who crosses boundaries, disrupts the social order, and embodies contradiction. He is a shape-changer and a liar” (Stein 143). It is through the character of Zenia, that gender identity comes out to be a “dynamic matrix of interrelated, often contradictory, experiences, strategies, styles and attributions mediated by cultures and one’s specific history, forming a network that cannot be separated meaningfully into discrete entities or ordered into a hierarchy” (Garland

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