The Penelopiad: Framing
Bliv bruger af LibraryThing, hvis du vil skrive et indlæg
Dette emne er markeret som "i hvile"—det seneste indlæg er mere end 90 dage gammel. Du kan vække emnet til live ved at poste et indlæg.
This framing also brought in interesting details regarding the behavior of the dead. Did that add to the story?
It's also a useful device for the novelist. Placing Penelope in a sort of asynchronous afterlife allows Atwood to shift between immediacy and distance in describing events, which she makes good use of. In addition, it allows Penelope to address the reader directly, which I think is more effective for Atwood's purposes than to have her telling her story to some intermediary.
So much for the gods not wanting me to suffer. They all tease. I might as well have been a stray dog, pelted with stones or with its tail set alight for their amusement. Not the fat and bones of animals, but our suffering, is what they love to savour.
After all, if it were set at the same time, the word "rape" could never appear in the story -- and the treatment of women is a significant part of the point Atwood is making.
I found it interesting that Atwood had Penelope adopt such a modern, feminist view of women's sexual agency but had no such change of heart around slavery. Quite the juxtaposition for readers.
I think her message was the stronger for it. Through her aristocratic Penelope, she was able to show how the classical patriarchal society oppressed even women at the top of the social order. And with the chorus she was able to criticize the social order, itself. She's effectively launching a satirical attack on both sexism and classism by raising up one hero only to dash her hero's whole order.
She uses the framing quite effectively. I can't help wondering, however, whether I've learned much for it. I tend to think there is more to learn by working from within—as far as it is possible—the classical worldview without the easy judgment from the future, our present. I guess it's up to whether you're more interested in how others viewed the world, or attempting to shape how we see the world today. I'm not sure that the two must be independent goals, but it's probably far easier to pick one.
I like your interpretation. Mine was more cynical, that Atwood might have come from a decade of feminism that predated intersectionality -- and it didn't cross her mind that while making Penelope authentic to the original time period by keeping to her classist ways, she was not coming to the same social revelation she had about women's rights. But I like the way you are seeing the attack on both sexism and classism. I shouldn't forget that while Penelope tells the tale, the chorus chimes in regularly.
I really liked the setting in Hades. It lets Penelope set aside all the falsehoods of the human realm: piety for the gods, for the institution of marriage, for her husband. She’s more honest and flippant.
It reminds me a lot of Sartre’s No Exit: hell is other people, and we are stuck with the pettiness of people for eternity. I felt bad for Penelope’s inability to get closure, to apologize to the hanged maidens, to come to some finality in her on-off relationship with her husband, to resolve anything with her rival Helen.