stability versus instability

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Stability is an essential aspect of life that structures the way one lives. Without it, an individual becomes accustomed to perpetual uncertainty, and the remainder of his or her life is shaped by the stability or lack thereof that characterizes one’s existence. In both texts studied, stability is either the basis of the protagonist’s life, or is completely absent. While both works use landscape to convey their contrasting themes regarding stability, the landscape in The Cat's Table reflects stability in the protagonists' life, whereas the landscape in The Year of the Flood, serves to express the instability that characterizes Toby's existence.
The landscape is depicted in both novels in contrasting ways, as one of the outlooks leads to stability, while the other scenery leads to instability. In The Year of the Flood, the novel opens with a description of the unreliable and disturbing landscape from the point of view of Toby, one of the protagonists. When looking out at the city, the landscape is never a settling sight for her. One observes this instability in the following passage:
She lifts her binoculars, scanning from left to right. The driveway, with its lumirose borders, untidy now as frayed hairbrushes, their purple glow fading in the strengthening light. The western entrance, done in pink adobe-style solarskin, the snarl of tangled cars outside the gate (Atwood 4).
As the quotation clearly demonstrates, the view that Toby looks out to is unsettling. Toby is troubled by the disarray and lack of control that unfolds in front of her. The sight is unfortunately not surprising to the protagonist, as this environment is familiar during the post-apocalyptic period. The chaotic state of the city that Toby looks upon fearfully is s...

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...s stable environment in The Cat’s Table.
In brief, it is clear that while landscape is a key feature in both The Year of the Flood and The Cat’s Table, the contrast between the novels is especially visible when comparing what each landscape represents; one portrays a stagnant and placid landscape, whereas the other setting is characterized by havoc and an inability to feel at peace. In the same vein, the metropolitan city in comparison to the ship provides a clear understanding of the stability on the constant, clear waters in The Cat’s Table, versus the instability and life filled with fear that is apparent in The Year of the Flood. However, one must keep in mind that the landscape is not the defining factor of stability in one’s life, but is merely reflecting upon the condition of one’s existence, formed by external circumstances with which the protagonist faces.
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