Essay on Defining Moments in Life in Margaret Atwood’s Short Story, Weight

Essay on Defining Moments in Life in Margaret Atwood’s Short Story, Weight

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Throughout a person’s lifetime there are a few defining moments that determine the kind of person they become. In Margaret Atwood’s Weight marriage, careers, and children play significant roles in the lives of Molly and her friend the narrator. The narrator’s flashbacks provide insight into the highs and lows of her own life along with Molly’s. Weight is an enjoyable short story because the struggles and triumphs of the characters may resonate with the reader’s own life. Atwood’s Weight is an effective and thought provoking short story. A complex plot, point of view, setting, theme, and characterization deliver mechanisms to stimulate thoughts and feelings in the reader.
Weight opens with the narrator’s gloomy thoughts as she sits down for dinner with a rich man named Charles. “Some days, I think I’m not going to make it...This is what I’m thinking of as I look at the man” (Atwood 197). The narrator is meeting with Charles over dinner to discuss future funding on behalf of the company for a women’s shelter named Molly’s Place. Over the course of dinner the narrator reflects on Molly’s life along with her own life. “Molly and I had big ideas, then. We were going to change things…We wanted justice and fair play” (Atwood 182). As a lawyer Molly fought hard for battered women in the community. However, the narrator was financially motivated and sold herself out instead of following their dream to represent women legally. Ultimately, Molly lost her life to the cause she passionately and professionally stood for as she was gruesomely dismembered by her husband (Atwood 192). The development of the plot is consistent with a Freytag Pyramid. Rising action in the short story entails meeting Charles for dinner and the flashbacks experienc...


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...rrator explains where pieces of Molly’s body were found after her murder, “the arms and legs [were] hidden here and there around the province” (Atwood 180). However, it is never directly stated which province the setting takes place in. Although it is not mentioned Weight may have taken place in Ontario as it was published in Toronto. The microsetting is the restaurant where the narrator and Charles had dinner together to discuss Molly’s Place. Weight likely took place in the 1980’s based on the narrator’s age and how long she has been practicing law. “Twenty years ago, I was just out of law school; in another twenty, I’ll be retired and it will be the twenty-first century” (Atwood 186). The microsetting plays a major role in the construction of the story. The dinner date is the catalyst for the narrator’s flashbacks which are the backbone for the short story.


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