Analysis Of Margret Atwood's Short Story 'Lusus Naturae'

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Margret Atwood’s short story “Lusus Naturae” is known as a work of fiction in which a monster uncommonly plays the role of the protagonist. Discussing character dynamics, it is interesting to examine the symbolic meaning behind the girl as a monster in this story. Is this text simply a fantasy created with the goal to serve solely as a horror story with a typical ending, or does this tale have a deeper meaning encompassing the treatment of women and their sexuality throughout history. Through close reading of “Lusus Naturae,” I plan to use evidence from the text to illustrate symbolic parallels between the unusual protagonist and the known historical role women held in society.

To begin Atwood grabs attention by opening her story asking the …show more content…

The author corresponds the beginning and end of the passage to display the craved perfect woman. In the beginning, the girl informs the readers of what the priest tells her when she directly states, “He told me God had chosen to make me as a special girl, a sort of bride…[that] I was lucky, because I would stay innocent all my life, no man would want to pollute me…I would go straight to heaven” (Atwood 264). This innocence the priest mentioned was an expected quality women were supposed to have until they were wed. In addition to virginal innocence, during her funeral, the girl wore white “fitting for a virgin” to increase the significance of this chastity. Reaching the end of the story, the same innocent girl comes back into view. She “put on [her] white burial dress, [her] white veil, as befits a virgin” and excepts her fate just as women accepted their place in society (Atwood 266).

Quite unexpectedly, I have attempted to show this story in a new light. Through the reading of Margaret Atwood’s short biography and her clever “Lusus Naturae,” I found an interesting symbolic connection between the treatment of women and the monster in this story. As many other literary texts such as Jane Eyre or Gone with the Wind are more straight forward with their exhibit of views on women, this short story requires a more in depth, close reading to illustrate

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