Death By Landscape Short Story

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Death is a central theme in the short stories “Death by Landscape” and “Happy Endings”, both by Margaret Atwood. While both stories have a prominent character fall victim to death, they both contrast in the way the death affects the surviving character as well as how each death is presented. In “Death by Landscape”, Lois makes good friends with Lucy at camp. However, Lucy seemingly disappears later, leaving a lasting impact on Lois. In the story “Happy Endings”, there are six scenarios where two different stock characters marry. Each scenario has a different beginning and middle, but they all end in the same way with Atwood stating: “John and Mary die” (Happy Endings, 285). Conversely, in “Death by Landscape”, the death of Lucy is a catalyst for a big change in the setting…show more content…
One example how death was presented was when the narrator says “Mary collects all the sleeping pills and aspirins she can find, and takes them and a half a bottle of sherry.” (Happy Endings, 283), clearly describing how Mary died in scenario B. Another example is shown in scenario E, when the narrator says “Fred has a bad heart. The rest of the story is about how kind and understanding they both are until Fred dies.” (Happy Endings, 284), clearly showing the cause of death of Fred in this instance. Each of the six scenarios is linked together, as they all lead to “The only authentic ending… John and Mary die” (Happy Endings, 285). Atwood makes certain that the reader knows that both protagonists die to reinforce a significant theme of the story. It helps link the one ending of all six scenarios to real life, suggesting that the only ending everyone shares is death. The presentations of death in both “Death by Landscape” and “Happy Endings” contrast one another with the former; presenting death with uncertainty, compared to the latter, presenting death with utmost
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