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DOI: 10.18413/2313-8912-2022-8-4-0-9

Posthuman and Pandemic Elements in the Feminist Retellings of Fairy Tales in Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles

Fairy tales have transcended time, space, context and their original media of propagation. Retelling or reworking familiar fairy-tale tropes has long been a literary tradition which still enjoys a position of popularity in contemporary times. This process revivifies seamlessly the literary endeavours of the ancient as well as the medieval authors. This paper explores how the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, while being a feminist retelling of fairy tales, deals with posthuman concepts of biological warfare, genetic modifications, cyborgs and authoritarian autocratic regimes, set in the context of a raging pandemic sometime in the future retaining considerable literary integrity. The novels draw on the fairy tales of Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White, and chronicle the eponymous female protagonists Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter who take action, claim agency and collaborate to bring down the autocratic regime of the Lunar Queen Levana who in pursuit of sole ownership of natural resources, engages in murder, ruthlessly creating genetically modified hybrid super soldiers and a bio engineered pandemic. This study chronicles the posthuman facets which set the works in the foreseeable future. This paper also identifies and analyses the similarities between the strands of the fictional Letumosis pandemic and the recent COVID-19 pandemic and the significance in how fictional works can predict human response. These fairy tale retellings go to demonstrate that the tales sustain their relevance through reinterpretations and retellings that address contemporary concerns.

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