Surfacing - A Reason To Kill

Margaret Atwood's Surfacing is an intensely symbolic novel about an artist whose weekend trip home to search for her missing father turns into a journey of self discovery. The main character in the story is also the narrator and is not given a name probably because readers will be able to identify with her as the story's heroine. Early in the story, she talks about being married, divorced, and having a child. Later it is made known that she was never married, but has had an affair with her art professor. As a result of the affair, she gets pregnant and has to have an abortion. Her method of dealing with the pain of having an abortion is to create a false memory to cover it up. Her ...

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items represent methods of containing or imprisoning life : "I put the worms in a can and some dirt for them." They also represent the narrator's own emotional life which has been put into jars preventing her from being able to feel. The narrator knows that she has feelings, but the trauma of having an abortion has caused her to become extremely desensitized.
It can be deduced that the narrator has always felt trapped in places she did not want to be. On page 58, she says that Anna could be her at sixteen, "sulking on the dock, resentful at being away from the city and the boy friend I'd proved my normality by obtaining ... " She has never felt normal. She even has a career that she did not intend to have and this makes her uncomfortable : " ... it feels strapped to me, like an aqualung or an extra, artificial limb.

For her entire life, The narrator has been unable to know her true self because she has not been taught to feel. Instead she has been taught how to respond ...

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and did not feel like she could talk to her parents about it because they would not understand something so evil. "They were from another age ... when everyone got married and had a family ... " She also stayed away from her parents in an attempt to keep them young : "'They have no right to get old.'" She says she was sure her parents would remain unchanged : " ... I could leave and return much later and everything would be the same." She wants to keep her gods young because they would lose their power if she had to watch them grow old.

Going home is a frightening experience for her, and the only reason she makes the trip is because of her father's accident. If she finds him alive ...

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Surfacing - A Reason To Kill. (2004, January 12). Retrieved March 25, 2019, from
"Surfacing - A Reason To Kill.", 12 Jan. 2004. Web. 25 Mar. 2019. <>
"Surfacing - A Reason To Kill." January 12, 2004. Accessed March 25, 2019.
"Surfacing - A Reason To Kill." January 12, 2004. Accessed March 25, 2019.
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Added: 1/12/2004 06:08:54 AM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1827
Pages: 7

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