Toni Morrison and Margaret Atwood explore the emotional, psychological and physical consequences in societies in which women are not allowed to control their own bodies, in which women are not viewed as human beings but as uteruses for profit by privileged white men. The authors’ fictional women characters risk everything to regain family, life and voice but pay a heavy personal price in seeking that freedom and recovering from sanctioned and sanctified rape. We will read Morrison’s Beloved and Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale—two novels that are disturbing and graphic in terms of physical and sexual violence—and discuss the effects of laws and religious practices on the lives of women. Required texts: Beloved by Toni Morrison, ISBN-13: 978-1400033416, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, ISBN-13: 978-0385490818. Recommended text: Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence—From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror by Judith Lewis Herman, ISBN-13: 978-0465061716.
Brenda Bryant (email@example.com) recently retired after 25 years teaching at Delgado Community College in New Orleans where she won an Excellence in Teaching Award. She holds a doctorate in literature and has taught these two novels for more than 20 years as part of the Madness in Literature course.