The Edible Woman was written in the 1960s, when males dominated society. At this period in time post-war feminist movements were trying to conquer and fight that women could do everything a man could do if only they could get the chance to prove so. In The Edible Woman there are three parts to Marian MacAlpin’s life that play a major role throughout the novel, all the parts have a common denominator, which happens to be food. Part one of the story is about how Marian is trying to identify herself in a male dominate world, while going through a sudden change dealing with her eating habits. Part two the narrator, Marian is beginning to refer to herself in third person, no longer using “I” but using “she” and letting her boyfriend pick and choose everything for her. The third and final part of The Edible Woman tells about how Marian’s appetite goes back to being normal and she also no longer refers to herself in third person but starts using “I” again taking back her identity. In The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood the constant theme is a woman who is unable to accept the roles provided to the female by a male-dominated society.
Marian MacAlpin is a young, successful woman, working in the market research field. Her job, private life and social relationships seem to be idealistic, but after finding out her boyfriend Peter is a consumer of nature during a conversation over dinner, she can’t eat causing her body is responding in a negative way. Marian’s rejection to food acts as a metaphor for her rejection to the male dominate society, she does not want her whole life to be ran by men or one man. When Peter proposes to Marian her body completely starts to refuse food and she is unable to eat. Marian begins to feel as if she is being eating by Peter, therefore she can’t eat food. Food becomes a symbol of struggle and rebellion, Marian feels that starving herself is the only control she has over anything dealing with her life.
Ever since her engagement, the strangest thing has been happening to Marian McAlpin: she can’t eat. First meat. Then eggs, vegetables, cake, pumpkin seeds—everything! Worse yet, she has the crazy feeling that she’s being eating. Marian ought to feel consumed with passion, but she really just feels...consumed (Atwood BC). Marian is not ready to enter the conventional female role that is expected of her, Marian wants to break the “wife” expectations that most females were and are expected to play during the 1960s.
Peter is Marian’s boyfriend who later on in The Edible Woman becomes her fiancé. He is a lawyer and has a passionate interest in guns and cameras. Peter is basically the head honcho in charge when it comes to everything. Once Peter proposes to Marian she realizes how serious the talk of marriage is and reacts indifferently towards Peter, “I drew back from him. A tremendous electric blue flash, very near, illuminated the inside of the car. As we stared at each other in that brief light I could see myself, small and oval,...