Epilogue: Margaret Atwood’s The Heart Goes Last and the Futures of Domineering White Masculinity
Although Margaret Atwood’s warning about Christofascist patriarchal tyranny in The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) is clearly pertinent to current conditions and threats in the United States, she provides a closer analogue in The Heart Goes Last (2015). Though flawed in its overlooking of racial disparities in today’s criminal justice system, this novel extends our current neoliberal economic order into a dystopia in which dominant white masculine tendencies have resulted in commodified possession of nearly everyone and everything, including nostalgia. In Feagin and Ducey’s terms, an increasingly entrenched “elite white-male dominance system” remains “central to most western societies.” Literary fiction can illustrate and inspire effective resistance, and the six novels considered in this study demonstrate the healing potential of narrative itself, exposing as it often does the interior machinations of the empowered and thereby suggesting avenues toward more egalitarian futures.
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