Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



English Language, Literature, and Creative Writing


Literature, Canadian (English).


Harder, B.




Many Canadian authors are turning to speculative fiction genres, instead of more realistic genres, to tell their tales. In the cases of William Gibson, Margaret Atwood, and Elisabeth Vonarburg, each author has used the speculative fiction genre of utopian science fiction, to satirically depict restrictive gender roles that exist in contemporary Euro-American society. In opposition to limited gender definitions, the authors also portray positive, subversive, and alternative gender roles. All three authors use landscape as a metaphor for gender. Consistent with landscape patterns identified by Jenny Wolmark in feminist utopian fiction, Atwood, Gibson, and Vonarburg depict "the centre," a imprisoning enclosure, "pockets of isolation," places of safety within the centre where individuals can resist the centre's gender mandates, and "margins," where individuals can create alternative gender roles. Ultimately, Atwood, Vonarburg, and Gibson, show that storytelling is powerful tool in subverting traditional Euro-American gender roles. Their characters mirror the authors' subversive storytelling techniques to demonstrate an advocation for varied gender roles. The authors manipulate traditional patriarchal heroic mythic patterns to include the "female hero," and use the image of the "cyborg" to illustrate the potential for numerous gender configurations. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)Dept. of English Language, Literature, and Creative Writing. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1994 .M3785. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 34-02, page: 0532. Adviser: Bernie Harder. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1994.