Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 13. Number3.  September 2022                                  Pp.403-413

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Conflict in Atwoods The Handmaid’s Tale: A Critical Discourse Approach

 Ola Razzaq Naji
       Department of English, College of Education for Wome
University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq
Corresponding Author:

Nawal Fadhil Abbas
Department of English, College of Education for Women
University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq


Received: 06/19/2022         Accepted:09/01/2022                 Published:09/24/2022


 Conflict is a common but complicated phenomenon. It has been extensively researched in many domains, including philosophy, sociology, psychology, and linguistics. Using the Critical Discourse Approach, this study examines the issue of self-society conflict in The Handmaid’s Tale. The significance of this work lies in the identification and explanation of the discursive strategies that force the ideological polarization of the positively portrayed self versus the negatively portrayed other. The purpose of this study is to answer two questions: what are the discursive strategies used in The Handmaid’s Tale to create a positive or negative representation, and how are these strategies implemented? Five extracts from The Handmaid’s Tale were examined using eight of Van Dijk’s discursive strategies (2006). The findings show the pervasiveness of the discursive strategies in The Handmaid’s Tale, which attempt to transmit the ideological polarization of a positive portrayal of the self against a negative presentation of the other. Students of critical discourse analysis, communications studies, and of English, in particular, may find the findings useful.
Keywords: conflict, critical discourse analysis, discursive strategies, self-society conflict, The Handmaid’s Tale 

Cite as:   Naji, O. R., & Abbas, N. F.  (2022). Conflict in Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale: A Critical Discourse Approach Arab
World English Journal, 13
(3) 403-413.


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Received: 06/19/2022
Accepted: 09/01/2022 
Published: 09/24/2022  

Ola Razzaq Naji is an M.A.candidate in the Department of English, University of Baghdad, College of Education for Women. Her major is Linguistics and she has interest in several fields within linguistics including prgmatics.  ORCid ID: 

Nawal Fadhil Abbas is a professor with a Ph.D. in English Language and Linguistics teaching in  the Department of English, University of Baghdad, College of Education for Women. Her research interests include Pragmatics, Stylistics, and Critical Discoures Analysis. ORCid ID: