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Surfacing Essay

807 words - 4 pages

What is the point of writing a story? For most authors, writing a story is their way to convey a certain message to their readers. In the story, Surfacing by Margaret Atwood the author express a multitude of different messages. She uses her story as a way to share her thoughts on things such as the subjugation of women, destruction of nature, and the expansion of America. One of her main focuses, however, is to reveal the truth behind marriage. With the help of symbolism, the author displays the theme of deception in marriage. The use of symbolism is applied through a wedding ring, a barometer, and wearing make-up which allows the author is to achieve her goal of displaying the stories overall message of showing how much control men had over women in society.
In the novel, Surfacing, a barometer, which features a wooden man and women inside, is used to represent matrimony. The narrator’s thoughts on the barometer change throughout the story, reflecting her views on marriage. In the beginning of the story, the narrator compares the weather indicator to an elderly couple that lives in her hometown. The narrator explains how marriage is like “two people linked together and balancing each other, like the wooden man and woman in the barometer at Paul’s house.”(Atwood page 45). The comparison between the barometer and the elderly couple displays how the narrator initially views marriage to be very simple and slightly unfulfilling. Later on, the narrator links the relationship between her two friends, David and Anna, to the barometer. She believes that a false sense of happiness and contentment can be seen through David and Anna’s marriage and the wooden couple in the barometer. The narrator describes how David and Anna are both unhappy with their marriage, but because of the commitment to each other, they stay together and attempt to appear happy. She then compares this thought to the wooden couple in the barometer. They appear to be happy and content but in reality they are trapped inside the barometer with no escape. This shows that the narrator links entrapment and marriage together. Therefore, in the story, marriage is viewed negatively.
Another use of symbolism in the novel is shown through the narrator’s wedding ring. She wears the ring around her neck and it is a constant reminder of her terrible past marriage. At one point...

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