Imagining Violence: ‘The Power’ of Feminist Fantasy

In one of her most quoted lines, Margaret Atwood quipped, “Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them.” Her protégé Alderman takes this epigram seriously, to show readers how women’s lives would be different if they were not afraid. Yet she also forcefully dramatizes the futility of violence, and its inevitable escalation ending in Armageddon. So why this fantasy now? Alderman is reflecting and channeling the anger of a young generation of feminists who will not forgive, excuse, cover up, and accept male abuse.

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