A Study of Postmodern Feminist Aesthetics in Margaret Atwood’s Prose Poems in Murder in the Dark


  • Sundus Javaid PhD scholar at IELL, University of Sindh, Jamshoro
  • Waseem Hassan Malik Assistant Professor, University of Sindh, Jamshoro
  • Shamshad Rasool Lecturer in English, University of Gujrat


Postmodernism, Postmodern feminist aesthetics, Parody, Pastiche, Angst, Third Theoretical Space


Postmodernism refers to the subversion of unified assumptions of reality through decentering the notion of a unified reason with pluralistic version of reality having fragmentation and chaos in the postmodern era. Postmodern aesthetics, in this context, signify the loss of referent, which gives rise to the ambivalent depiction of reality. It takes into account the various narrative techniques like Parody and Pastiche in order to mock the concept of a unified reason. Postmodernism, in conflation with feminist studies, forms Postmodern feminist aesthetics which refers to dismantling the identity of women as a unified epistemology and hence, gives way to multiple and plural epistemological depictions of women identity. This multiple and pluralistic existence of women tends to create ‘Angst’ which leads towards the meaninglessness and hence, the identity crisis of women in the Postmodern era. Postmodern feminist aesthetics significantly de-essentializes the concept of women being ‘typical’ caught in the shackles of patriarchy through giving voice to individual stories of women. The present study deals with Atwood’s engagement with postmodern feminist aesthetics to challenge the unified constructions of women identity through giving voice to fragmentation and chaos inherent in women identity in the postmodern world. The study also deals with an issue of identity crisis of women as it attempts to reveal that how women experience anxiety as a result of fragmentation and chaos due to the absence of unified epistemological construct of women liberation in the Postmodern world. Moreover, Atwood through her prose poems in Murder in the Dark (1983) significantly maintains the ambivalence of the position of women free from the constructs of freedom/oppression with emphasis on epistemological becoming of women identity through giving voice to the “third theoretical space”.