Often referred to as a "feminist / ecological treatise" by critics, Margaret Atwood's Surfacing reflects the politics and issues of the postmodern society (Hutcheon 145). The narrator of the story (who remains nameless) returns to the undeveloped island that she grew up on to search for her missing father; in the process, she unmasks the dualities and inconsistencies in both her personal life and her patriarchal society. Through the struggle to reclaim her identity and roots, the Surfacer begins a psychological journey that leads her directly into the natural world. Like the journey itself, the language, events, and characters in Atwood's novel reflect a world that oppresses and dominates both femininity and nature. Strong and unmistakable in Surfacing, the ecofeminist theory establishes itself in three specific ways: through the references to patriarchal reasoned dualities between the masculine and feminine world; through the domination and oppression of the feminine and natural world, and through the Surfacer's own internal struggle and re-embracement of nature.
Since "the voices of ecofeminism are diverse," it requires definition (Zabinski 315). A postmodern movement that "abandons the hardheaded scientific approach . . . in favor of a more spiritual consciousness," ecofeminist theory links the oppression of women with the oppression of nature (Salleh 339). More specifically, "ecological feminism is the position that there are important connections -- historical, experiential, symbolic, theoretical -- between the domination of women and the domination of nature, an understanding which is crucial to both feminism and environmental ethics" (Warren, The Power and the P...
... middle of paper ...
... Ecology." Healing the Wounds: The Promise of Ecofeminism. Ed. Judith Plant. Philedelphia: New Society Publishers, 1989: 18-28.
Legleer, Gretchen T. "Ecofeminism Literary Criticism." Warren, Ecofeminism 227-238.
Salleh, Ariel. "Deeper than Deep Ecology: The Eco-feminist Connection." Environmental Ethics. Vol.6. 339-345.
Warren, Karen, ed. Ecofeminism: Women, Culture, and Nature. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1997.
---. "Taking Empirical Data Seriously: An Ecofeminist Philosophical Perspective." Warren, Ecofeminism 3-20.
---. "The Power and the Promise of Ecological Feminism." Environmental Ethics: 125-146.
Zabinski, Catherine. "Scientific Ecology and the Ecological Feminism: The Potential for Dialougue." Warren, Ecofeminism 314-322.
Zimmerman, Michael. "Feminism, Deep Ecology, and Environmental Ethics." Environmental Ethics. Vol. 9, 22-44.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Colonialism in Margaret Atwood's 'Surfacing' Margaret Atwood's novel 'Surfacing' demonstrates the complex question of identity for an English-speaking Canadian female. Identity, for the protagonist has become problematic because of her role as a victim of colonial forces. She has been colonized by men in the patriarchal society in which she grew up, by Americans and their cultural imperialism, or neo-colonialism as it has come to be known as, and the Euro-centric legacy that remains in her country although the physical presence of English and French rulers have gone.... [tags: Margaret Atwood Surfacing]
2900 words (8.3 pages)
- The Black and White World of Atwood's Surfacing Many people elect to view the world and life as a series of paired opposites-love and hate, birth and death, right and wrong. As Anne Lamott said, "it is so much easier to embrace absolutes than to suffer reality" (104). This quote summarizes the thoughts of the narrator in Margaret Atwood's novel Surfacing. The narrator, whose name is never mentioned, must confront a past that she has tried desperately to ignore (7). She sees herself and the world around her as either the innocent victim or the victimizer, never both.... [tags: Atwood Surfacing Essays]
2209 words (6.3 pages)
- Rereading Atwood's Surfacing The class touched on a multitude of different subjects during the class time for the second discussion of the novel, Surfacing. These discussions were much deeper than the previous one, asking questions on motivation and symbolism rather than plot and language. Two of the most popular subjects were characterization and the validity of the narrator and the information she gives the reader. Other topics were discussed including religion, the bird motif that has appeared throughout our readings this semester, and the narrator's artistic frustration among many others.... [tags: Atwood Surfacing Essays]
702 words (2 pages)
- Margaret Atwood's 'Surfacing' Throughout the book the narrator constantly intertwines the past and present as though it is side by side. Atwood shows this in the opening sentence ‘’I can’t believe I’m on this road again’’. The use of the adjective ‘again’ reveals the narrator has been in this place in an earlier life. The narrator seems to repress a lot of her past and continuously contradicts herself, which at times confuses the reader as we can not tell whether she is talking about her past or her present and whether she regards it as home as she says ‘’Now were on home ground foreign territory’’.... [tags: Margaret Atwood Surfacing Essays]
1297 words (3.7 pages)
- The Psychological Journey of the Narrator in Atwood’s Surfacing In Surfacing, a novel by Margaret Atwood, the narrator undertakes three basic journeys: a physical quest to search for her lost father, a biographical journey into her past, and most importantly a psychological journey. The psychological journey allows the narrator to reconcile her past and ultimately leads to the conclusion of the physical journey. In this psychological voyage into her innerself, the narrator, while travelling from cognizant rational reasoning to subconscious dissociated reality progresses through three stages.... [tags: Atwood Surfacing Essays]
1991 words (5.7 pages)
- The Painful and Lonely Journey in Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing Not all journeys are delightful undertakings. In Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing, the nameless narrator underwent a painful process of shedding the false skins she had acquired in the city, in order to obtain a psychic cleansing towards an authentic self. By recognizing the superficial qualities of her friends, uncovering the meaning of love, and rediscovering her childhood, the narrator was prepared for change. She was ready to take the plunge and resurface in her true form.... [tags: Surfacing]
2876 words (8.2 pages)
- The Malignant American in Surfacing Before traveling through Europe last summer, friends advised me to avoid being identified as an American. Throughout Europe, the term American connotes arrogance and insensitivity to local culture. In line with the foregoing stereotype, the unnamed narrator's use of the term American in Margaret Atwood's Surfacing is used to describe individuals of any nationality who are unempathetic and thus destructive. The narrator, however, uses the word in the context of her guilt over her abortion and consequent emotional numbness. The narrator's vituperative definition of American as an individual who is unempathetic and destructive is largely attributa... [tags: Atwood Surfacing Essays]
1434 words (4.1 pages)
- A theoretical perspective or paradigm is a set of ideas that attempt to guide your thinking and explain viewpoints. Within the field of sociology, there are many paradigms. These include structural-functionalism, social conflict, feminism, symbolic interactionism, and postmodernism. As a female who appreciates a viewpoint outside of the standard male outlook, my favorite theoretical paradigm is feminist theory. Feminism is one of the most prominent areas in contemporary sociology. By linking sociological theory and political reform, feminists aim to end inequalities between men and women in both public and private environments.... [tags: Feminism, Feminist theory, Sociology]
1050 words (3 pages)
- Surfacing by Margaret Atwood In "Surfacing," by Margaret Atwood, the unnamed protagonist acquires a radical perception of reality that is developed through an intense psychological journey on the island that served as her childhood home. Truth can be taken from the narrator's viewpoint, but the reader must explore the inner turmoil plaguing her in order to understand the basis of such beliefs. The narrator's perception of reality can be deemed reliable once all of these factors are understood; however, throughout the novel Atwood develops many unseen connections that are essential to such and understanding.... [tags: Papers]
1100 words (3.1 pages)
- A Feminist Perspective of Shakespeare Although William Shakespeare reflects and at times supports the English Renaissance stereotypes of women and men and their various roles and responsibilities in society, he is also a writer who questions, challenges, and modifies those representations. His stories afford opportunities not only to understand Renaissance culture better but also to confront our own contemporary generalizations about gender, especially what it means to be female. In his own time, Shakespeare seems to have been raising questions about the standard images of males and females, about what the characteristics of each gender are, about what is defined as masculine and fem... [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]
1501 words (4.3 pages)
- Lockean Philosophy in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels
- Lycidas: Poetry and Death
- Biblical Figures and Ideals in Shakespeare's Richard II
- The Unsuspecting Hero of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit
- Use of Imagery and Metaphor in Wilfred Owen's Dulce et Decorum Est
- Negative Effects of False Media Images