Speculative Fiction

Fiction considered literary by nature, elements of fantasy and science fiction, focuses on issues of social change.

Sub-genres: horror, dystopian, futuristic, utopia, apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic.

Handmaid's Tale: futuristic, dystopian.

Dystopian Fiction

Undesirable place, nothing is perfect, plagued with disease and destruction and death.

Psychoanalytical Criticism

Freudian reading of the story, argues that secret unconscious desires and anxieties of the author or protagonist are represented in the writing.

Handmaid's Tale: each of the characters acts as a mirror for Offred.


Relies on conventions like: fragmentation (flashbacks), paradox, unreliable narrator, unrealistic/impossible plot, games, paradox, paranoia, dark humor (historical note), authorial self-reference (historical note).

Absolute meanings are rejected and the possibility of multiple meanings or a lack of meaning within a work is highlighted and celebrated.


Looks at events/aspects/factors concerning the relationships between living organisms in their natural environment as well as their relationships with that environment.

Feminist Criticism

How women are represented in literature.

Informed by feminist theory, or, more broadly, by the politics of feminism. It uses feminist principles and ideology to critique the language of literature.

It seeks to analyze and describe the ways in which literature portrays the narrative of male domination by exploring the economic, social, political, and psychological forces embedded within literature.