The Levinasian Responsible Subject’s Breaching the Face’s Command: An Inversion of the Master-Slave Relationship in Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy

Document Type : Original Article

Authors

1 Associate Professor of English Language and Literature, Department of Language and Literature, University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj, Iran

2 PhD Candidate of English Language and Literature, Department of English Language and Literature, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz Branch.

10.34785/J014.2022.400

Abstract

In accordance with Emmanuel Levinas’s ethics, the interconnection between the subject and its Other is equated with the master-slave relationship, which is not by any means absolute. This article aims at illustrating an oscillating state of master-and-slave relation with regard to Levinas’s ethics in Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy. The Face of the Other becomes a ‘poor master’ who needs help and yet gives a serious order to the subject, one that he should obey. Subsequently, the Other deprives the subject of his/her wealth, thus overcoming its own poverty; therefore, the Other as a ‘poor master’ and the subject as a ‘wealthy subject’ constitute an ethical relationship. Founding the argument on the above-mentioned Levinasian principles, this paper approaches the altruistic intentions of Atwood’s post-apocalyptic characters, and inspects how the post-apocalyptic world of her MaddAddam trilogy is ultimately orientated towards, if not also predicting, a return to now bygone humanistic, ethical and communal society.

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