Materialism In A And C By Margaret Atwood

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Atwood’s satire uses diction and undeveloped, stereotypical flat characters to critique middle-class economic materialism while challenging the pursuit of ordinary contentments. The diction used throughout the short story highlights and critiques middle-class economic materialism. Words related to money are used often, for example John and Mary “can afford live in help” and “buy a charming house”, while John “purchases a handgun”. Attention is drawn to the use of money to critique materialism. All of the characters are specified to have jobs, with the exception of James, since this fits in with his “free” image. For example, in A, John and Mary have “worthwhile and remunerative jobs” and Mary “met [John] at work” in C. This over-emphasis on work reflects peoples’ feeling of obligation to get a job in order…show more content…
Real estate values are also brought up unnecessarily. In A and C, “real estate values go up” while in D “real estate values go down”. These facts don’t have any direct correlation to the story. By mentioning them, Atwood criticizes people’s obsession with monetary values. In B, it is pointed out that John “doesn’t even consider [Mary] worth the price of a dinner out”. The diction of “worth the price” implies that even Mary, a person, has a certain cost, is worth a certain amount of money, which suggests that people value money as much as other people. Atwood herself suggests that the reader may find the stories in A to E “too bourgeois”. Her use of the word “bourgeois” shows her awareness of the exaggerated middle-class materialistism of her story, indicating that she is using satire to criticize these qualities. The
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