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Anything For "Love": Joan's Struggle To Be Accepted.

1364 words - 5 pages

Relationships that we create with others through our lives can be a strong influence on all of us. These relationships can define who we are and the quality that will be integrated into our lives. Loving relationships are a good source of comfort and support while intense relationship can cause stress and discouragement. In Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood, the main character, Joan Foster, is a confusing and complex person who had more than her share of chaotic relationships. Through her childhood and teenage years she had an agitating relationship with her mother, and later she had the confining relationship with her husband. These relationships had a profound impact, leaving us wondering: How important are the relationships in Joan's life, and how do they affect her identity and personality as a whole?The first major relationship Joan was faced with was that of her mother. The feeling of not being wanted or loved leaves Joan in a struggle to fit in and be accepted by her mother. When she fails at this, Joan starts to resent her mother and becomes belligerent. Joan's identity at this point, shaped by her constant need to oppose everything her mother demands of her. Her main way of doing this is through overeating and making a skeptical of herself by wearing outrageous clothing. "She thought I should buy clothes that would make me less conspicuous, the dark dresses with tiny poka-dots and vertical stripes favored by designers for the fat. Instead I sought out clothes of a peculiar and offensive hideousness, violently colored, horizontally stripped"(Atwood 85). Joan deliberately went out of her way to annoy her mother and didn't care what the opinion of the town was of her, so long as she succeeded at her mission. Along with the clothing fiasco, Joan would gorge on food which caused weight gain. She did this because she knew it was something that her mother would despise. It isn't until the death of her Aunt Lou and the money left to Joan that she decides to lose weight. Eventually Joan does lose the weight and then flees her home (and the grasp of her mother), in doing this she begins to become the person she is and wants to be.During the hard times she had with her mother, Joan also experiences a complicated relationship with her father, something never understands while she lived at home. She believed that her mother was the driving forceinterfering in their relationship, but it turns out that was not the case, as we later find out. When Joan returned home after her mother's death she learnt that it wasn't anything her mother did that kept them separate, it was a fear of her. "We were silent conspirators all our lives, and now that the silence was removed, we couldn't think of anything to say to each other"(Atwood 182). In this relationship, Joan's identity is silent. Unlike with her mother, she knew what was expected of her. Joan had nothing to react to with her father, and therefore, she had no identity while in his presence.Later in the novel...

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