The Edible Woman by Margaret Artwood Review

The Edible Woman is a 1969 novel written by Margaret Artwood . This is a story about a young women whose world starts to slip out of focus. Following her engagement ,marian feels her body and her self are becoming separated .
The edible Woman is about women and their relationships to men, to society, and to food and eating . It is through food and eating that atwood discusses a young woman’s rebellion against a modern,male dominate world.
The edible woman, was published at the same time that feminism was experiencing a renewed popularity among political movements.
on the subject of feminism, there is plenty of it in this book. Besides marriage, it is seen most obviously with women’s roles in the work force. Here we have Ainsley and Marian, both college graduates, yet neither has a really stable career. They both work for companies that deal with commercial products, one as the product tester and the other the survey taker. It’s almost a joke. Clara’s husband, a college professor, even comments at one point that women should not be allowed to go to college because of the crushing reality of how little opportunities they have once they are out. This was the very sad truth at the time the book was written and thankfully is not exactly the case now, though there are still plenty of hurdles for women nowadays in business.

The Edible Woman explores the themes of losing a sense of self with maturity. At work she is pushed around, her roommate Ainsley is inconsiderate, the landlady is judgmental, and her boyfriend Peter is self centered and makes plenty of snide comments at Marian’s expense, acting like he can barely tolerate her. With each encounter Marian puts aside her pride and follows along.

The Edible Woman is about a young marketer who identifies sex and love with food and becomes anorexic. In 1969, the sexually frustrated Marian McAlpine has a job as a market researcher in Toronto, Canada. She lives with her roommate Ainsley who succeeds in tricking her evasive boyfriend Len into thinking she is pregnant so that he will propose.

Marian is a woman in her twenties who has a normal life, Marian Unable to foresee a fulfilling career within the company, she begins to worry about her future and about what she might become. One night, she comes to the unsettling realization that her relationship with her boyfriend, Peter, is more serious than she thought it to be. She tries to evade the matter by running away. Yet, when Peter proposes marriage that very night, Marian accepts. She had always assumed that she would get married, and Peter, she thinks, is an ideal choice, he is a lawyer and is bound to be successful. Similarly, Peter feels that marriage will aid his career.

Despite her engagement, Marian continues to see Duncan, the aimless graduate student of English Literature, whom she met while conducting door-to-door interviews for an ad campaign. The day after Peter proposes, they run into each other at a laundromat where they talk and share an unexpected intimate moment in the form of a kiss.
(Even though it is clear the two have some chemistry Duncan constantly puts Marian down, which only makes Marian want more. Why? Both Duncan and Peter put Marian down, but how they do it is different. Duncan doesn’t try to change Marian, but Peter does. Duncan is appealing because there is no commitment. He’s skinny, always looking sickly and disheveled, he doesn’t cope well with other people and something about him is just strange. He is the complete opposite of Peter, the perfect bachelor. Peter is a man’s man that looks down on women, looks at marriage as a ball and chain. With his passive insults and disapproving looks Peter slowly starts to mold Marian into the type of subservient woman that he wants.)

After stealing a kiss from Duncan, the two go to dinner, where Marian first starts to develop her aversion to food. Psychologically she starts to believe that sexually exciting yet controlling Duncan is slowly consuming her, in the same way that he consumes food. In her mind, she feels that she is being eaten alive by men. She develops an aversion to meat, then eggs, the vegetables.

As she watches Peter cut his steak at dinner one night, Marian suddenly visualizes the diagram of a planned cow, outlining all the different cuts of meat. She is unable to finish the steak on her own plate and soon discovers that she can no longer eat meat that has any indication of bone, tendon, or fibre. Before long, the refusal spreads to other foods, leaving her unable to eat many of the things she used to enjoy. She begins to fear that she may not be normal but her married friend, Clara, assures her that the eating problem is simply a symptom of bridal nerves and that she will soon get over it.

As the wedding date approaches, Peter decides to throw a party. He enjoys displaying Marian and hints that she might want to get her hair done and buy a new dress. She complies by buying a red sequined thing that is, she thinks, not quite her. As she walks home, hair heavily scented and every strand glued in place, she thinks of herself as a cake: something to be carefully iced and ornamented. At the party, while Peter prepares to take a group photo, Marian realizes that she must escape.
when Marion becomes all dolled up, her lover Duncan tells her she is ugly and then steals her away to a motel for a night of lousy sex. The next morning, she is unable to eat a thing and has no choice but to confront her problems. According to Duncan, Marian’s problems are all in her mind: she has invented her “own personal cul-de-sac” and will have to think her own way out.

Later that afternoon Marian bakes a cake shaped and decorated into the likeness of a woman. When Peter arrives, she accuses him of trying to assimilate her and offers the cake as a substitute. He leaves quickly, without eating, and Marian begins picking at the cake herself.she sits down and eats it herself, thus accepting that she is more comfortable being a slutty free agent rather than a bride.

When her wedding day was approaching, Marian quite literally begins to lose her ability to consume things. First she rejects steak, finally she cannot even stomach salad. A case of bridal jitters, says a married friend. Or, as I think the author means us to half-seriously see it, a piece of truth-telling dementia that is a symbolic answer to lying sanity. Not to eat or be eaten up like a confection of calculated flavors might be her heroine’s unconscious aim and Miss Atwood’s symbolic sense. To finally express her meaning, Marian prepares a cake-and-frosting lady, which she serves to her fiancé in the place of herself, after having slept with that indigestible other fellow.

By the final chapter, Marian has called off the wedding and is eating regularly. Duncan tells her that she is “back to so-called reality”—a “consumer” once again. Marian then watches as Duncan eats the rest of the cake.
The story ends with the non-committal, abusive Duncan sitting down to enjoy the baked effigy of Marian with her.

submitted by
Peichun Gangmei
english honours.


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