3 Days, 3 Quotes: Day 2 – The Edible Woman

This is my second post in the 3 Days, 3 Quotes series that came out of a nomination by Weezelle.

Today’s quote is from The Edible Woman.

She felt them, their identities, almost their substance, pass over her head like a wave. At some time she would be — or no, already she was like that too; she was one of them, her body the same, identical, merged with that other flesh that choked the air in the flowered room with its sweet organic scent; she felt suffocated by this thick sargasso-sea of femininity.

The Edible Woman is the first book I read by Margaret Atwood. It was a life changing book for me, because I felt recognised. I think it was the first time I experienced that with a work of literature. It was a new experience of reading for me.

As she begins to detach from reality, the central character Marian articulates many things that I was thinking in my late teens. Marian begins to feel oppressed by the demands society seems to be placing on her. The most memorable and funny moment in the book is when Marian, unable to deal with the social situation she finds herself in and the thoughts going around her head, hides beneath a sofa, getting stuck and having to listen to the conversation of her friends. Who hasn’t wanted to crawl inside a sofa just to escape a party with people you don’t understand and who don’t understand you?

I found the transition from childhood to adulthood, and the realisation that I was expected by society at large to behave in a particular way because of my gender, difficult. Pigeonholing in general is a difficult thing for me, but pigeonholing by gender especially so. And I include the Strong Woman Club in that – the women who self pigeonhole, defining themselves on the basis of not being men.

I’m not really a joiner-in. I have never understood pack mentality – the cliques at school mystified me. Why would anyone want to be identikit? And why would setting yourself up in opposition to a group whose members think differently to you, solely because they think differently to you, help a situation?

I don’t want to be a girlie-girl and I don’t want to be a ball-breaker. (Not all the time, anyway. Either of them.)

Life, eh? It’s tricky. Why can’t we just be who we are?

3 thoughts on “3 Days, 3 Quotes: Day 2 – The Edible Woman

  1. I love Atwood too, excellent pick. I think my first Atwood book was the Handmaid’s Tale; it left an indelible impression on me. I also admire your adherence to this task – I’m taking quite a liberal view of ‘consecutive’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Atwood is one of my favourite authors. I love everything about her, her openness to experience, the way her mind works, the way she writes, even the fact that she’s so active on Twitter. She is an amazing woman. Straight after The Edible Woman, I read Surfacing, which also had a big impact on me. There’s only a handful of her books that I haven’t read yet.


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