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'Explore the way Atwood establishes divisions and oppositions'

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'Explore the way Atwood establishes divisions and oppositions' Throughout the book the narrator constantly intertwines the past and present as though it is side by side. Atwood shows this in the opening sentence ''I can't believe I'm on this road again''. The use of the adjective 'again' reveals the narrator has been in this place in an earlier life. The narrator seems to repress a lot of her past and continuously contradicts herself, which at times confuses the reader as we can not tell whether she is talking about her past or her present and whether she regards it as home as she says ''Now were on home ground foreign territory''. This links in with one of the key divisions in the story between the Americans and the Canadians that is portrayed throughout the book. This paradoxical declarative reveals that the protagonist feels she should belong there but feels detached from this childhood place, suggesting she may feel alienated from this place revealing something oppressive about this home ground. Also David is the key person who emphasizes this division between the Americans and Canadians. On page three David stresses ''Bloody fascist pig Yanks'', reiterating the stereotypical Canadian disliking of the Americans, using his usual hostile, aggressive language. ...read more.


Again on page t we see the narrator being 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 can see here that the protagonist is self contradicting herself as she earlier stated "I can't believe I'm on this road again notifying the reader that she does belong there. Also back in chapter two we see that some families don't speak English such as Paul's wife; this may have been because she may have wanted to use the language as a defense mechanism, allowing her to alienate herself from English speaking people. Throughout the book we see the strong oppositions between men and women. In chapter four we see that Joe's communication is laconic, the protagonist describes it as "unusual for him to ask anything about myself". However the protagonist seem to use Joe's silent exterior to her advantage, the less he talks the more power she has over him, so in this case Joes seems to be her perfect partner as she feels threatened by words and he doesn't say much. Ironically the narrator "learned the sort the sort of thing he wants: elegant and stylized. Decoratively colored, like patisserie cakes". This suggests she understands how men work and follow their expectations. ...read more.


The narrator begins the journey with three 'friends' although as the reader reads on we find that she may not actually regard them as being 'friends'. With this she says "he's a good driver, I realize that, I keep my outside hand on the door in spite of it" this reveals the narrators distrust in David. Later in the story the narrators adds "I like them, I trust them, I can't think of anyone else I like better, but right now I wish they weren't here". This shows that the narrator is showing her regrets for bringing them with her reiterating her distrust in them. We also begin to see the narrators distrust in those who are closest to her, her family. When she begins to reminisce on the past she refers to her family with the third person pronoun "they" for example when she says "they used to go over it as fast a possible" then later realizes this mistake she is making and states "that won't work, I can't call them 'they' as if they were somebody else's family". However the tables are turned as we the readers begin to realize that it is the protagonist that we are unable to trust. This is due to the protagonist's constant self contradictions and self corrections as she says "my husband, my former husband". ?? ?? ?? ?? Sara Mall JSM ...read more.

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