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Who Is Margret Atwood's Lusus Naturae?

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In Margret Atwood’s “Lusus Naturae,” set in the 1800’s, a period where a multitude of people remained annexed by those they loved due to ailments that were deemed uncommon; to illustrate this phenomenon Atwood engages us through the intertwining story, told by the protagonist, who is kept unnamed. The protagonist is not only affected by her physical disease, but also the psychological affects from remaining isolated from her community. The tale is crafted to criticize how severely society treats others in the face of diversity and disability. The protagonist not only accepts the abuse, but she also agrees with it because instead of viewing herself as someone who has worth, she only sees herself as an inhuman burden. Through obstacles our narrator faces, because of her disease, we can see how truly cruel society can be. Atwood calls the audience’s attention toward the damaging behavior demonstrated by the community of the healthy population when faced with someone with disability due to no fault of their own.…show more content…
She recognizes that her own mother regretted giving birth to her, “It saddened her to have given birth to such an item as myself,” (263). The unsettling implication that a woman has given birth to an object, rather than a living, breathing, human being, is made tragic upon realizing that the protagonist views this as fair judgement and in turn she not only accepts this truth as her own but she agrees with it, “I was a thing,” (265). The narrator’s sympathizing view of this cruel impression helps guide the reader in understanding how damaging this type of isolation is to the incapacitated. The isolation resulted in the protagonist genuinely believing that she has no place in society and instead of fighting against the majority she simply took their verisimilitude and made it her
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