Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Martin, Paul


―Margaret Atwood‘s Divided Self‖ explores four novels by celebrated Canadian author, Margaret Atwood: Lady Oracle, Surfacing, Alias Grace, and The Robber Bride. Although others have discussed the reoccurring themes of disunity and duality in Atwood‘s work, these explorations have not addressed some of her newest novels and have taken a very limited approach to reading and understanding Atwood‘s theme of the divided self. This study opens up a literary ―conversation‖ about Atwood‘s theme of the divided self by examining the protagonists of these select novels by using different branches of theory and thought to fully explore this issue. To conquer their double or multiple identities Atwood‘s protagonists in these novels must take two actions: 1) Accept their double/multiple identities as a part of themselves and 2) transcend this position and the resulting ―hauntings‖ by their mothers (or their decision to choose a replacement female ―mother‖ figure) by becoming mothers themselves. The introduction chapter ―The Author as ‗Slippery Double‘‖ explores Atwood‘s position as a ―slippery (divided) subject‖ between her writing/social and interior selves. Chapter one, ―Canadian Women: Nature, Place, and the Divided Other in Atwood‘s Works‖ explores the role of nature, place, and femininity in Atwood‘s divided protagonists. Chapter two, ―The Uncanny Double: Haunting Entities and the Divided Self in Atwood‘s Fiction‖ contains the main argument and explores the role of the uncanny in Atwood‘s works. Although I explore these four novels most thoroughly explored, this theme runs throughout Atwood‘s entire body of work. Although I mostly use close readings of the primary texts, I also ground my argument in the work of theorists in several fields of thought including Sigmund Freud, Louis Althusser, George H. Mead, and Jacques Lacan.