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The Edible Woman

  • Date Submitted: 03/17/2010 04:29 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 54 
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An essay by Kenneth Hermansson
To eat or to be eaten, is that the feminine question?
The human mouth is made for eating, talking and kissing, is it not? In the novel "The Edible Woman", written by the Canadian author Margaret Atwood, the mouth plays an important role. In this essay I will concentrate on one of the mentioned practises connected to the mouth, the eating, even if it seams that the main character of the novel, Marian has some problems not only with food, but with her social relations and with her love life too.
The development of the "eating story"
It is possible to discern a development by three steps of Marian’s life throughout the story. They are all connected with food, but also with the position of the narrator. The first part of the story is narrated bybthe main character herself. It begins with her hunger; Marian’s eating seems often to be hampered. "_I had to skip the egg and wash down a glass of milk and a bowl of cold cereal which I knew would leave me hungry long before lunch time._" (1)
The position of the narrator changes in the second part of the story to be located outside the principle character. It is still Marian who tells the story; but she looks upon herself at a distance. The "I" of the first part becomes a "she" in the second. More or less, Marian stops eating. The foods accepted by her stomach become more and more limited and at the end one can detect a proper example of "self-starvation", or should I name it "anorexia"?
The final part of the novel describes how the appetite returns and at the same time Marian comes back to herself. This is illustrated by her decision to make a cake in the shape of a woman, a picture of herself? When Peter, the groom, refuses to eat the substitute for his bride and takes to flight, Marian devours it. The stomach of the starving woman returns to normal. The edible woman can eat again.
Symbolic cannibalism
Is Margaret Atwood a feminist writer? Does the...


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