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Tag Archives: Atwood

This book was certainly an entertaining read. Unlike the Penelope presented in The Odyssey, Penelope in The Penelopiad has a witty personality not quite emphasized in the former work. Unexpectedly, despite not having a form or a voice, as Penelope states herself, her narration is filled with humorous twists and turns, one that gives insight on the incidents that unfold in The Odyssey from her perspective, which I find highly enjoyable – after all, her modern take on the classical and ancient tale is truly refreshing, and her stream of consciousness, of course, which I shall come back to very soon.

Another facet of this unconventional presentation of Penelope’s life that I find interesting is the way the maid’s choruses are interspersed among her narrative. I believe – of course this is only blind assumption – that perhaps Atwood is attempting to create a distinction between Penelope and the maids? If she is, I must say she successfully stirred up my sympathies for the maids. In one of the choruses, the main exhibits cynicism towards their destinies as maids and towards their masters as well. From their perspectives, they are nothing but dirt – dirty, unclean, disposable. I sensed bitterness here which made me wonder if Penelope ever noticed that. Ironically, Penelope is under the impression that her supposed benevolence and adoration of those maids, which, by the way, are ultimately made victims of Penelope’s own foolishness, ensured their loyalty. Apparently not. Her plan caused them early, undeserving deaths. It is then perhaps their right to resent Penelope? I think so.

So, stream of consciousness. I think I shall ramble something about this before I lose my consciousness altogether. (It is approaching midnight, after all.) I keep on getting the feeling that my eyes are going to shut down altogether in the near future, in, say, two minutes.

Right. I have digressed, or perhaps streamed my consciousness? (Ha ha.) Well, I find that Penelope has a knack for driving me off the course. One second she narrates a story, another second she digresses and goes into other less relevant topics. In my drowsy condition, I have been quite susceptible to her artfulness – kind of. And, that part where Antinous appears, I am particularly impressed with her response for his vile directness: “Thank you for your frankness. It must be a relief to you to express your feelings for once. You can put the arrow back now. To tell you the truth, I feel a surge of joy every time I see it sticking through your lying, gluttonous neck.”

Penelope would make a great feminist.

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