Submitted by Anonymous on 01/01/1999 01:00 AM Flag This PaperJoin Now
Throughout history many stereotypes have been inflicted on women, preventing them to live in the ways in which they have hoped and desired. There has been many limitations set, placing women in very conventional roles: housewife; mother; secretary, all examples of such restrictions. Margaret Atwood, an extraordinary novelist when speaking out against women’s rights, has done so excellently in her books entitled The Handmaid’s Tale and The Edible Woman. Here it is seen just how arduous it has been for women to live out their own dreams and goals, as society has prevented this. Atwood examines the many limitations placed on women and the necessity to overcome these restrictions in order that they are able to maintain an individual sense of identity.
The Edible Woman introduces the character of Marian McAlpin. She is quite an intelligent, educated young woman who suffers the consequences of society’s views on women. Marian is fortunate enough to have received an university education although her job description does not mirror this. Marian has what would be considered a very good job, however she can never become one of the “men upstairs.” Becoming a doctor or lawyer, for the average woman is still a rarity by the late nineteen-sixties. Besides, “what else do you do with a B.A these days?” (11) In Marian’s love life there is a man, Peter, whom she plans on marrying. She knows that after their marriage she would have to give up her job and become a happy housewife for her successful husband. Marian does not want this as she believes she is meant for more. She still, however, continues to find herself in traditional female roles, losing her own sense of who she is. Even as she witnesses what is happening to her, she feels powerless against the influential force society has against her. Being merely a woman in a “man’s world” make it difficult for Marian to speak out against how she truly felt and believed.
For the character of Offred in The...