Mod B: Critical Study Essay- speeches (Lessing + Atwood)

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Doris Lessing’s On Not Winning the Nobel Prize (2007) and Margaret Atwood’s Spotty-Handed Villainesses (1994) are both worthy speeches because they evoke a personal response in their intended audience and offer solutions to complex global issues. These issues are complex because they do not have a clear answer and hence, remains a controversial topic and reverberates across time. Therefore, the solutions offered by these speeches also resonates beyond the contextual audience and holds value for the modern responder. Lessing spoke to the general public, through the Nobel lectures, to discuss the issue of world poverty. She focused her speech on the relationship between education and poverty and as such, conveyed education as the means to…show more content…
The metaphor of ‘cookie-cutting’ and ‘oversugaring’ in “[literature has] the tendency to cookie-cut… and to oversugar on one side” highlights the repetitive, one-dimensionally ‘good’ female characters celebrated by second-wave feminists. Second-wave feminists believe that ‘bad’ traits are conventionally male and as a result, restricts female characters to the painfully ‘good’. This provides a contesting view of gender equality and gives gender inequality its complexity. Hence, Atwood challenges this second-wave perspective in the rhetorical questions, “[if women are] fully dimensional human beings… why shouldn’t their many-dimensionality be given literary expression?” to provoke the realisation that due to feminist movements, literature had often disregarded the true depths of female nature. As a result, Atwood’s figurative use of language connects to the audience to compel the realisation that women in literature have been oversimplified. Hence, Atwood’s speech is worthy because her rhetoric induces a personal response to the complex global issue of gender inequality.
Through the development of her argument, Lessing’s ideas reverberate to today as she attempts to resolve world poverty, which remains a prominent, unsolved issue in societies across time. The reference to Book Aid International which had “the intention of getting books into the villages” builds upon her prior call for increased access

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