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In Lucky Jim and The Edible Woman, Amis and Atwood use the protagonist's suitors as foils to illustrate the escape

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Introduction

A Foil-Perhaps More than Meets the Eye in Atwood's The Edible Woman and Amis's Lucky Jim? The adolescent years are often associated with turbulence, illusion, and self-discovery; however, Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim and Margaret Atwood's The Edible Woman demonstrate that more often than not, the twenties possess these qualities to a greater extent than adolescence. The age period of the twenties often consists of relationships, employment and self issues and using the premise of these uncertain times, Amis and Atwood effectively satire various societal systems. Moreover, Amis and Atwood both implement the use of the foil, a character who, by contrast with another character, accentuates that character's distinctive characteristics. In particular, each author uses the protagonist's two love interests as foils to each other not only for the purpose of character contrast, but also, to further the development of each novel. {Thus, - omit?} Amis and Atwood use Margaret and Christine, and Peter and Duncan, respectively as foils to each other to fully develop and promote the growth of their respective protagonists, Jim and Marian; to develop prevailing themes in each novel; and to illustrate the escape of the protagonist from the trappings of a system. ...read more.

Middle

Thus, Amis and Atwood each use foils to further the character development of their protagonists. Amis and Atwood both introduce several themes through the use of their protagonist's respective love interests as foils. Although each author implements the stylistic device of a foil to introduce and develop themes; the themes, with the exception of satire and education systems, tend to differ between the novels. Amis introduces the theme of perfomativity with Margaret and uses Christine as a foil to this theme. Margaret becomes known for her theatrics which escalate from practiced laughter to suicide attempts. For example, Jim says that "Margaret was laughing in the way Dixon had provisionally named to himself 'the tinkle of tiny silver bells'. He sometimes thought that the whole corpus of her behaviour derived from translating such phrases into action" (Amis 23). In contrast, Jim describes Christine following the burnt bedroom scene when she "made an extraordinary loud snorting noise of incompetently suppressed laughter" (Amis 74). Through, Jim's description of Christine's laugh, it becomes obvious that her laughter is genuine and natural. Thus, through something as simple as the laughter of Jim's two sweethearts, Amis depicts the theme of performativity that constitutes the Margaret character through the contrast with the authenticity of Christine. ...read more.

Conclusion

With Duncan's indirect assistance, Marian breaks free from the bondage of consumerism and accuses Peter of "trying to assimilate [her]" (Atwood 301). Following this, Duncan makes the observation that Marian is "back to so-called reality" and that she is "a consumer" (Atwood 311). Thus, Marian escapes the bondage of the system of consumerism by becoming the consumer instead of the consumed through her interactions with her suitors. Jim and Marian both overcome different oppressive systems with the assistance of their relationship with their respective pairs of suitors. The use of foils in regards to the suitors of the respective protagonists in Lucky Jim and The Edible Woman effectively promotes the character development and maturation of the protagonists, Jim and Marian; develops different themes in each novel; and demonstrates the struggle and final flight of the protagonist from a restricting system. Consequently, the stylistic device of a foil can not only be used to emphasize differences between characters, but it can also be used to further the development of outside characters, themes, symbols and more. As a result, one could argue that Amis and Atwood's use of the foil has resulted in the foil overcoming the restrictions that the writing system imposed upon it for its original use and instead, has developed into a multipurpose writing device. ., 1989. ...read more.

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