Margaret Atwood: Dancing Girls



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N in modern relationships and the ennui that sets into modern life and leaves people feeling deeply sad yet nable to explain their sadness In the face of material security socially acceptable relationships and jobs and owning lavish goods and homes why do we still feel so sad Other stories carefully examine mental deterioration whether mental illness The War in the Bathroom as the main character slowly seems to spiral into dementia or severe strain brought on by A Vintage Affair unusual circumstances A Travel Piece Atwood posits that in the face of complete breakdown a part ofs still hangs onto our familiar routines even when hanging on seems absurd Whether this absurd cling to the familiar helps to maintain our sanity or whether it merely hastens the descent into madness is never made clear Ana Mardoll I read this short story because Margaret Atwood and because of the catchy title Going into it I was sure I knew what a rape fantasy is but the main character Estelle got me so confused that I googled itAccording to the almighty Wikipedia a rape fantasy sometimes rape play or a ravishment is a sexual fantasy involving imagining or pretending being coerced or coercing another into sexual activity And that s exactly what I thought it is So I m not sure why Estelle doesn t seem to Sirens Fury (The Storm Siren Trilogy, understand that All her fantasies are far from sexual not even mildly arousing Her imagined rapists all endp to be ite pathetic men in need of comforting or psychiatric help I prefer Atwood s novels to her short stories but I ve had this book for eons and figured it was time to read it And sure enough I was nonplussed by most of the stories hated a few and enjoyed fewer stillThe overall mood was definitely depressing the attitude cynical and if the pieces reflect Atwood s then opinions of relationships she considered all men to be cheating deadbeats and women to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown Several stories reminded me of dreams disjointed with people and places suddenly shifting so that you w The only thing that saves this from the one star category is the fact that I can imaging my creative writing professors at Rochester assigning these sorts of short stories because they are right in line with all of the ones I read for class I would read and become a bit excited near the end of the first third of the story hoping with a bit of anticipation that now after this confusion and meandering everything will add p and lead to something beautiful or horrendous or at least meaningful But after finishing the second third of the story I finally realize that no the first third was exactly what was going to happen throughout and I would be destined to finish the story without finding any purpose to it at all but I would finish it anyway because I had already invested time and energy in the first two thirds and darn it if there was some surprise at the end that made everything make sense I didn t want to be such a lazy reader that I would miss itBut I rarely missed anything And so after trying four or five stories in Dancing Girls I returned it to the library I ll look for a novel the next time I decide to delve into Atwood This marvellous collection of short stories brings together the stories of men and women but of course it is the women who Atwood finds fascinating and interesting our motivations our drives our desires mostly nspoken but made manifest by actions Writing effective short stories is probably difficult than writing effective novels You have very little space you have to create viable breathing characters in paragraphs instead of chapters you have to weigh every word and know that it is essential or it must go and you must convey something important an idea a thought that lasts or has impact Margaret Atwood does that like it is a science I m not generally a fan of short stor. Intersect in nexpected ways ex wives indulge in an odd feast at a psychiatrist’s funeral; a young student is pursued by an obsessed immigrant; an old woman stores p supplies against an impending cataclysm The fourteen stories range in setting from.

How about it girls do you have rape fantasies Atwood is one of the authors who has a cheeky tone talking about rape and manages to get away with it in fact I kinda like her for it She hits the title exactly where it should Rape fantasies are for the most part an oxymoron The narrator in this story is a smart woman Smart and tough She is called a worry wart but she prefers knowing what she would do in an emergency She has a sharp wit And her rape fantasies are I feel weird even thinking about this word hilarious The last lines hit a nerve it is nimaginableAnd what she talks about a fantasy In a real rape fantasy what you should feel is this anxiety like when you think about your apartment building catching on fire and whether you should se the elevator or the stairs or maybe just stick your head nder a wet towel and you try to remember everything you ve read about what to do but you can t decideYou Normally I m a big fan of Margaret Atwood s work but there were a lot of elements in Dancing Girls which didn t appeal to me There s a general tone of immaturity and of experimentation and only a few of the stories actually read like they were written by the famous and noteworthy Margaret Atwood The rest felt like they could have been written by anyone in the 1970s who liked to play around with perspective and toneThe pieces I liked were When it Happens Polarities The Resplendent English Doctor, Italian Bride uetzal and Training These all carry what I think of as Atwood s hallmarks empathy for her characters annderstanding of the tough choices we humans are sometimes forced to make during our lives and the difficulties men and women have in their communications and interactions with one another When it Happens was my favorite there s a timelessness to this story of an older woman preparing herself for what she considers to be the eventuality of war While written in the 1970s during the dual stresses of the Cold War and the Vietnam War it could just as easily be set then today or twenty years from nowI wasn t terribly interested in or was bored by the ten other stories in the collection Some of them felt incomplete as though I were reading a rough draft rather than the finished product Some of them provided so little information about the narrator setting or circumstances that I couldn t piece together what was happening In others the narration style was so odd that I didn t know if the person was mentally ill as in Under Glass or possessed by some kind of spirit as in The War in the Bathroom Since no context is given outside the first person perspective of those two stories in particular I honestly found it difficult to care about anything which happened to the charactersIt s only because I liked four of the stories so much that I gave this collection two stars If I had to guess I would say that Atwood was simultaneously finding her voice as a writer and indulging in some of the avant garde exercises of the 1970s when many writers were testing the limits and boundaries of fiction Readers who enjoy that will probably enjoy Dancing Girls much than I did Personally I think Atwood really came into her own in the 1980s and 1990s and I prefer her work from that time period much So I hand it to him and he s very obliging he twists the top off and hands it back to me and I suirt him in the eye I hope you don t think that s too vicious Come to think of it it is a bit mean especially when he was so polite and all Dancing Girls 0 553 37791 4This collection of Atwood short stories includes The War in the Bathroom When It Happens The Man from Mars A Travel Piece Polarities The Resplendent etzal Under Glass Training The Grave of the Famous Poet Lives of Poets Dancing Girls Hair Jewelry Giving Birth Rape Fantasies Betty The Sin EaterThese stories are classic Atwood material the stories explore pai. Dancing Girls is Margaret Atwood’s highly praised first collection of short fiction In it she explores the dark intricacies of the mind the complexities of human relationships and the clashes between cultures In the stories the mundane and the bizarre.

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Ies They seem too often to leave me feeling as if there is to the story if only the author had had the time and pages to flesh it out Atwood seldom left me with that feeling in this collection although I admit to loving some of the stories and feeling a little confused about othersThe ones I lovedBetty Almost a coming of age tale with the adolescent narrator who doesn t ite Once a Thief (The Network understand the world of the grownps that she observes Betty is part of Betty and Fred the couple who live next door at the cottages where her family is spending the summer and the girl and her sister are a bit taken with Fred but it is Betty who makes them welcomed and treats them well Fred seems so ideal to their young minds About half way through the tale our narrator observes I began to think that I might not want to be married to Fred after all He Loving Jessie unrolled from Betty s mouth like a long ribbon of soggy newspaper printed from end to end with nothing but the weather That simile said allUnder Glass I wanted to scream at this narrator who is involved in a relationship with a man who has just committed an infidelity and shrugs it off in a boys will be boys style I wanted to tell him what no one s ever taught him how two people who love each other behave how they avoid damaging each other but I m not sure I know and He won t come near me touch me doesn t he that s all he needs to do He ll wait for me to cool off as he puts it But if I go away like this I won t be back She wishes she didn t love him but myestion would be why does sheThe Grave of the Famous Poet A tale of alienation and breakup that felt perfectly heartbreaking to me The setting is right for romance but the narrator knows the romance is over I pull him into me wanting him to be with me but for the first time I feel it s just flesh a body a beautiful machine an animated corpse he isn t in it any I want him so much and he isn t here If you have ever experienced the end of love you will recognize its shadow whispering your nameThe Sin Eater Joseph is an Behind Closed Doors (Made in Montana, unorthodox shrink who we meet through his client because he doesn t call them patients or believe they are sick This world is all we have says Joseph It s all you have to work with It is not too much for you You will not be rescued I could turn that last one into a mantra and share it with everyone who is young and struggling middle aged and feelingnsure of the path they have taken old and feeling their time run out You will not be rescued but then Joseph and Atwood would probably tell you that if you pay close attention you will discover you can rescue yourself A fascinating short story that both confronts and subverts rape culture through a wandering The Marshals Pursuit uncouth narrator In Rape Fantasies our protagonist Estelle discusses rape fantasies with her coworkers and soon realizes that none of their ideas have anything to do with actual rape While her coworkers dream of consensual encounters Estelle imagines stories in which she endsp subduing andor sympathizing with her attacker because he gets his zipper stuck or has a cold or fights leprosy Atwood employs her signature cutting and ironic voice to make readers Mistresses uestion how we all discuss sexual assault both to each other and within ourselvesEstelle also serves as a fascinating character study Her convoluted stream of thought consciousness complicates Rape Fantasies and adds another layer of subterfuge to the piece I feel like literary types and feminists alike could spend hours dissecting this piece while Atwood does not make herltimate message super clear to Made of Honor us she does forces to dissect the ways in which we imagine or how we judge the imaginations of others She published this several years ago so good for her for shedding light on a subject so often stigmatized in our society to the great cost of sexual assault survivors. Canada to England from Mexico to the United States and portray characters who touch Soldiers Pregnancy Protocol / In the Enemys Arms us and arouse ins compassion and nderstanding In this astonishing collection Margaret Atwood maps human motivation we scarcely know we have From the Hardcover edition.

Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario uebec and Toronto She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master's degree from Radcliffe CollegeThroughout her writing career Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and honourary degrees She is the author of than thirty five volumes of poetry childr