History as hysterectomy, the writing of women's history in The handmaid's tale and Ana historic

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Lamoureux, Cheryl
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"History as Hysterectomy: The Writing of Women's History in The Handmaid's Tale and Ana Historic" examines the ways in which these two novels represent phallogocentrism as a shaping force in western society, most importantly, in its history and language. As a result, women have been excluded from the pages of history, except as adjuncts and background to the exploits of men. Further, they have been left with the problem of using language, with its patriarchal history, in order to reclaim their experiences from the margins of men's stories. History as the work of the histor, a "learned man," itself depends upon the figure of an objective recorder, whose male Gaze reflects what Luce Irigaray calls a "dominant scopic economy," making it possible for women to be controlled at a "glance." Similarly, this visual bias operates in the construction of history, which allows the observer to objectify the people and events being studied. The Handmaid's Tale fantasizes a future society, controlled by Eyes and shaped by a metaphysical language of the Word made flesh. Ana Historic dramatizes the process of escaping from this look, and of finding a maternal origin for language: the flesh made word, suggesting a possible answer to feminist theorists' assertion that women must invent a language of their own.