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Analyse Atwood's narrative & linguistic approaches and how chapter 9 contributes to the novel as a whole

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Analyse Atwood's narrative & linguistic approaches and how chapter 9 contributes to the novel as a whole. Chapter nine opening section two of the novel is mainly recalling the last chapters and about the narrator rediscovering herself, surfacing the truth. In section one we see the narrator talking in the present tense in a very descriptive form, outlining the novel. However in section two we see her talking in the past tense demonstrating the stories she is telling. The separation between the human and the natural world and the narrator's struggle with language most directly portrays the novel's dualities. In chapter nine there are many areas's in which specific linguistics are used to tell the story. This is evident in the very opening paragraph of chapter nine, when the narrator says "The trouble is all in the knob at the top of our bodies". The noun euphemism 'knob' for the head has connotations of a mechanical device which links in to the "illusion that they are separate". This creates a binary opposition between emotion versus reason (heart versus brain), creating the idea that the narrator is dislocated form herself. The narrator is sceptical about language as she blames words and makes it the culprit just like when the 'husband' kept saying he loved her on page 28. ...read more.


In chapter seven the protagonist says "I feel a little sick, it's because I've killed something, made it dead". The negative impact of the abortion takes its toll on the narrator here. The unnecessary murder of the 'heron' presents a direct parallel to the narrator's traumatising experience. The declarative above suggests she feels some sort of remorse for killing, revealing a sense of emotion. The indefinite pronoun "something" reveals a broader picture in her subconscious which we could apply to her 'child' - 'abortion'. The narrator and Joe's relationship is a key factor in the novel. Atwood suggests that their relationship is predominantly sexual. This is evident as the narrator says "cool he called it, was the way I took off my clothes and put them on again later very smoothly as if I were feeling no emotion". This reiterates the narrator's lack of emotion. In this aspect the reader seems to be sharing Joe's position as we are not being told much as is Joe. The narrator is not giving Joe her inner self; she is denying him of it. In chapter ten she conceals "facts" about her past, like the 'child'. When Joe proposes to the narrator and questions her feelings towards him she responds with "I do give a shit about you". ...read more.


The use of these consistent adjectives suggest that the narrator witnessed the 'drowning'. At this point the reader is taking in what the narrator is saying but later realise that this is untrue as the brother is still very much alive. When the reality of the brother's 'drowning' is revealed we the reader start to question the narrator's state of mind and whether there is any truth in anything she says. As the novel progresses the audience begin to doubt the narrator's memories more. This is evident in chapter ten whist the narrator is view the scrapbooks, she says "I couldn't remember ever having drawn these pictures" and "I was disappointed in myself, I must of been a hedonistic child". The verbs clustered together suggest the narrator really struggles to recall her memories. Another key suggestion to the narrator's fault memory is the way she intertwines the past and present, making the reader at times unaware of which is which, also the way in which the narrator continually contradicts herself. This is evident on page twenty when she is placed in a paradoxical position when she thinks "if you live in a place you should speak the language. But this isn't where I lived". We see the clear contradiction as earlier she stated "I can't believe I'm on this road again" notifying the reader that she does belong there. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sara Mall JSM ...read more.

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