Of Happy Endings And Cinnamon Peels

1502 words - 6 pages

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Of Happy Endings And Cinnamon Peels English Literature Essay Need help? ☎ 0115 966 7955
That man begins dying on the moment the first breath is taken at birth is a fact of life and is perhaps one of its greatest ironies. How well life is lived is a conscious decision everyone has to make throughout the journey from its beginning to life's inevitable end. In Happy Endings, Margaret Atwood (1983) tells a story about love and sexuality in a satirical manner where the characters are portrayed as stereotypes of the male and female genders. In contrast, a poem by Michael Ondaatje (1982) called "The Cinnamon Peeler" which takes a more sublime interpretation on the matter and the poem's beautifully written prose emits a feeling of warmth that makes one want to snuggle in front of a fireplace with a loved one. This essay intends to conduct an interpretational and critical analysis on Atwood's short story and Ondaatje's poem by focusing on the issues of love and sexuality and that of life and death embedded in these literary pieces. The diverging views of the authors on these issues without a doubt will make interesting comparison and analysis.
Happy Endings takes a different approach to storytelling by allowing the reader to make a choice on the events and circumstances of the story such that if a happy ending is preferred then scenario A should be chosen. Scenario A though is implied as boring and inconsequential by the author and even the characters are bland and forgettable. As the reader reads on the other scenarios then that is where the plot thickens and the boring characters John and Mary take on more shape and depth. In scenario B, Atwood presents the first stereotype on love and sexuality between the genders: unreciprocated love. The tone also changes with the scenario and the author's choice of words is reminiscent of her angst against the male ego and its insensibilities to women. John is portrayed as a character who takes advantage of Mary to sate his sexual urges and nothing else underneath the physiological gratification. Mary though is in love with John and tries her best to be deserving of John's love. Her efforts to win John's love prove to be futile as the story proceeds and the reader will find another act that is typical of love affairs: betrayal. John betrays Mary who could have seen this coming when John complained of her cooking. Fault finding is a universal sign when a relationship is headed south and is typical of both genders to do so. As the story continues the reader will find Mary, a true romantic perhaps, committing suicide and hoping John will come to her rescue at the very end. Mary's hopes we unfounded though and the story ends tragically. The ending though is not tragic, it is actually expected and as pointed out by the author in a caveat towards the end of the story, the ending is...

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