Although difficult to universally characterize Margaret Atwood as a feminist postmodern writer, three of Atwood’s novels (The Robber Bride, Alias Grace, and The Blind Assassin) use postmodern techniques to build a conversation with readers about how female identity is created by having readers co-create meaning, consider the influence of intertexts, and question discourses. By emphasizing the role of the reader and the construction of text through storytelling, the traditional roles of author and reader are questioned, and Atwood develops a conversation with readers over their respective roles in creating and interpreting text. In The Robber Bride, Tony, Charis, and Roz tell Zenia’s story through their respective memories, but the arbitrary nature of what they choose to remember and what they choose to share challenges the biased nature of who tells the story/history. Grace Marks, in Alias Grace, tells her own story alongside the historical documents and narratives about her and fictional excerpts, highlighting how what is considered fact may be based on an agenda or fictional structures. In The Blind Assassin, Iris Chase Griffen has the largest control of her story in comparison to the other storytellers under study by choosing the elements that corroborate her narrative agenda. However, in each novel, readers are never given a complete answer to the identities in question. Instead, Atwood develops a conversation with the reader through his or her interaction with these three novels that makes him or her consider the construction of identity and how female characters in particular are defined.

Date of publication

Spring 4-21-2017

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Carolyn Tilghman, Ann Beebe, Catherine Ross


Master of Arts in English