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Surfacing: Notes from All Lectures

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Department
English
Course
ENG353Y1
Professor
Vikki Visvis
Semester
Fall

Description
Surfacing Tuesday,October 25, 2011 6:06PM ENG353:CanadianFiction LectureOutline: MargaretAtwood: Surfacing (Part1) Beginslikeadetectivestory:who-dun-itstory. Secondpart:discovers,withtimeonherhands,relicsofherparentslifeinthehouse. Mother'salbumsofphotographs/scrapbookofherownandherbrother's childhood. Hers:dresses,his:war. Triggersmemories:inexplicablyintolerantofhermostrecentmemories. Drawing:weirdcreatures. Crudedrawingsofanthropoidsandstrangecreatures withstrangecomments. P60. "forgottenpossibility"etc. Lookingforwill,looksagainatthedrawings. Increasinglybelieveshe'sinsane. "Totalderangement." Then,findsaletterwhichindicateshe'sbeentranscribing rockdrawingsontopaper,engaginginresearch. Figureshemustbedead. Compelledbymorbidcuriositytofollowmaptothesourceofthedrawings. Findsthebodyofherfatherunderthewater,whohas drowned,weigheddown byaheavycamera. Nottherealizationofherfather'sdeaththatstartlesher:it'sthememory ofherabortedchildthatcomesback to her. (Coercedintoabortion,never actuallymarried.) Thiswastherealreasonsherefusedtotalkto herparents,had this cooldistantpersona. Setsoutto shedfalseself. Theselfconditionedbysocietytofeelshameandfeel less+fabricatedself,unlearnadulthoodandreturntochildishstate. Attain "animalcondition". Persuadeslovertoimpregnateher,thenrunsawayfromcompanions, livingnakedontheisland. Putstaboosonherselfre:eating,starts hallucinating. Lettinggoofcivilization:letsgoofcabin,grounds,food,clothing, markerstocivilization. Civilizationhasimposedgenderidentityon hershedoesn'twant. Goesintoanimalstatethat isn'tderogatory, butredemptive. Mistakesmonsterforfather:realizesitsfootprintsareherown. (Parents describedasgods.)Leftalonewithchild,novelendswithJoeinaboatwho hascomeback forher. Seekingfatherwhoismissing,perhapsdead. GoestoisolatedislandinCanadian wilderness. Beingonaboat= quest! Journeymotif. Firstpartof thenovelcataloguesmanyaspectsofseparation. 1. Biography 2. TheQuest A)Definition MargaretAtwood’sSurfacinghasbeengenerallyacceptedasanarchetypalnarrative dealingwithaquestforrebirthandtransformation.Themodelofthequestonwhich shereliesisarticulatedinJosephCampbell’sTheHerowitha ThousandFaces. AccordingtoCampbelltheherois: Thisformula–separation,initiation,andreturn–providesthestructuralprincipalof Atwood’snovel. Don'tfocuson theactiontoo much. Questioning/dismantlingthequestnarrative. Thinkaboutitintermsof theconventionsofthequest. Questnotjustforobject,butalsoforunderstanding. ("I"onthe questbackto her child.) 1. Usuallyaseparationfromhome 2. Descent(oftenintounderworld) 3. Thereturn. (Title:surfacingfromdescent.) Shedivesunderwaterforherfather:descent. Howdoyoureturnas a womanin contemporarysociety? Atwoodsaystransform. Keepingwithconventionalstructure,wehavetheI/narratorwhoundergoesthethree- stepprocess. Becauseit'spost-modern,itsubscribestotheseconventionbutdeviates fromthem. Major:it's awomanquest-er! Eachdivisionofthenovelfocusesononeofthethreesteps. Firstimpressionofrestlessness. Questforfatherisstraightforward,alsotothe mother,andeventuallytothenarrator'sownself(identity). B)Separation C)Initiation:NextPartof the Quest 1. TheQuestContinued A)The Return(toSelf) Returntoselfachievedbyaseriesofactions. Man isconstructedas godlikeorhellish,womanisconstructedasavictim. a)SexwithJoe i)Demeter-Korêmyth:Thenarrator’ssexualactwithJoedoesnot necessarilyhavetomeanfurthervictimization;likeKorewho becomesthepowerfulPersephone,thenarratoristransformedinto awomanwithpower. Figureofthewomanwitharound-moonstomach. Rightof passagefrom girlhoodtowomanhood. girlhoodtowomanhood. Persephonemeans:shewhodestroyslife. (Linktothesun/moon.) Eatingpomegranateseedsintheunderworldmeansyouarestuckthere. Koregrowsupinthisexperience. Rape,victimization,downfall&sacrifice arecentralexperiencesfortheyoungKore. Oneofthemostimportant aspectsofthemythisthat theresurrectedKorecan nolongerbeabducted orvictimized,butbecomesagoddessinherownright,Persephone. Narratorisvictimizedandemotionallybatteredbypowerfulolderman (Hades-Kore),savedbyhermother(andfather)(pictographs),finding knowledgeandaction. Herresurrectiondoesnotresultinfurther victimization. Joereducedtofunctionaryrole.P161-2:I'm impatient. Pleasureis redundant. …It'sthe rightseason. Childrisingfromthelake. b)RevokingherName Explicitrenunciation. Meaningofnaming: Feministliterature:namingoneselfgrantsonepower. Renouncing civilization,gaininganidentitybeyondthetrappingsofcivilization. SexwithJoe,revokinghernameisanaction. Actionsthatarerebuildingheridentity,reunitingherself. c)Feelingemotions Dispelthedisassociationofemotion. Narratorwasacting purelyrationally,notonemotion. Hadcutoffallemotion. P172finallycrying.Feelingrealpain. d)Returnto self:Structuredasavisionquest Shamanicinitiation: Sharedbynativecultures. Shamananativepriest,healer,guide. 1. Deprivation(Ordeal) Periodofacutedeprivationonthevergeofdeath. Imposedontheinitiate:goesoutintothewildernessandseeksa guardianspirit. 2. Restriction/CreationofTaboos Deprivehimoffoodanddrink. Handinhand withdeprivation. Littlesleep. 3. Trance Delusionsthatvaryfromstatetostate. Goesintotherealmsofthe dead,whoperformcertainritualsthatareadismembermentofthe bodythatallowsforrebirth. bodythatallowsforrebirth. 4. SpiritRealmwiththeDead. Encounteryouranimalcounterpartorpeoplefromthepast. Spiritormanifestationof
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