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Abstract

In the present article I focus on Margaret Atwood’s presentation in Oryx and Crake (2003) of the patriarchal construct of motherhood, paying attention also to the way this theme here is linked up with the question of the woman’s/mother’s agency in personal life and in society. My exploration of this theme would bring out Atwood’s critique of what has been identified as the patriarchal ‘institution’ of motherhood and her presentation of an instance of ‘mothering’ that both underlines the lacunae in the sexist ideology of motherhood and gestures toward an alternative. This alternative discourse of childrearing presents a counternarrative that both critiques and disrupts the patriarchal masternarrative of motherhood and indicates the potentiality of a gynocentric mothering that gives cognizance to the mother’s needs as an individual and to the socio-political implication of motherwork.

Note on the Author

Suparna Banerjee was a recipient of the UGC-Junior Research Fellowship, a prestigious national scholarship in India, and received her Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. Her research interests include Mary Shelley’s and Margaret Atwood’s fiction, feminist theory, science studies, speculative fiction, and the human significance of language and literature. Her work has previously appeared in English Studies: A Journal of English Language and Literature, Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and The Literary Encyclopedia and is forthcoming in the upcoming (Feb. 2013) issue of Indian Journal of Gender Studies. She is currently working on a book entitled, Science, Gender and History: Mary Shelley and Margaret Atwood (‘Orient Blackswan’, formerly, ‘Orient Longman’) and on translating a book of short stories by noted Bengali author Bani Basu (‘Zubaan’).

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