Analysis Of Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin

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“Should is a futile word. It’s about what didn’t happen. It belongs in a parallel universe. It belongs in another dimension of space.” Despite the past’s permanence, it still elicits the temptation to dwell upon what might have been should one have acted with the insight of the present, haunting the conscious. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood tells the story of the wealthy and eccentric Chase family from the account of Iris Chase. A novel-within-a-novel, the book weaves multiple narratives across different time periods. An autobiography detailing the coming-of-age-story of Iris and her younger sister, Laura, follows brief glimpses into Iris’ contemporary life. Complementing these two plotlines is the subplot of Laura’s posthumously published novel titled The Blind Assassin, in which two illicit lovers hide their scandalous affair. Clues scattered amongst the three interconnected stories builds a slow reveal of the actions and events leading up to the tragedies that have struck the Chase family. Ignoring her own acknowledgment of “should’s” futility, Iris Chase recounts her painful memories and her regretful role cementing her family’s tragic fate. Her reflection of the past begs the question: How much blame can one place on personal responsibility for life’s downfalls? Iris’ daily routine in the small, fictional town of Port Ticonderoga reveals her bleak life in the present. Fragile and wrinkled, Iris spends her remaining days visiting her sister in the Chase mausoleum

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