Atwood and Suu Kyi

Atwood/Suu Kyi comparison

The most apparent distinction between Margaret Atwood and Suu Kyi is the freedom of speech factor. Here we have Atwood, who is a liberated woman from Canada, willing and able to speak her mind without having to tip-toe around the issues in her speech. On the other hand, and on the other side of the world, Suu Kyi is faced with crippling oppression and political persecution that prohibits her from directly addressing the issues she is concerned with, that is without putting herself in harms way. While Atwood faces disapproval from a critic, or more likely an affronted feminist, she is in no immediate danger and this, I think, is where the background of the two women can clearly be differentiated. Nevertheless, both Atwood and Suu Kyi are highly educated and have proved themselves to be exceedingly competent orators. Atwood is known to have a history in campaigning for women’s rights since the 1960’s. Although she is a fervent supporter of women’s rights she has, in the past, expressed ill feelings towards the feminist movement. Similarly, Suu Kyi has been strongly influenced by the idea of equality between the sexes, something not evident in Burma as of yet. She fights not only for women, but for tolerance, peace and “a few brave men” who also desire Suu Kyi’s objectives for a better world. Atwood is an internationally renowned novelist, and has received the Booker Prize (among others) for her novel, ‘The Blind Assassin.’ Suu Kyi has won the prestigious 1991 Nobel Peace Prize “for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights,” while being held under house arrest, which resulted simply from her popularity, and carried on for 6 years.

A feature which I think ties in with the context of the speech is its tone. Margaret Atwood is not burdened by the threat of danger that Suu Kyi faces on a daily basis for plainly speaking her mind, therefore, the tone of Atwood’s speech is humorous and tongue-in-cheek, and...