The Man from Mars by Margaret Atwood
This story takes place in a town somewhere north of Montreal, Canada. There are several settings but most often the story centers on a college campus or the main character’s residence. The main female character is a Caucasian citizen of Canada and is very affluent, while the main male character is Asian and is visiting Canada on a study visa, and is not wealthy at all. The political climate of this story is not completely present; however, at the end of the story, reference is made to a war between the North and South of the male character’s home country. Due to his ethnicity, one could assume it would possibly be a war between North and South Korea. The theme of this short story is that of an affluent girl finding a stronger sense of self-esteem and worth through a series of events generated by an older Asian man that seems to become attracted to her and stalks her, albeit harmlessly. The female character, Christine comes from a wealthy family. She has two beautiful sisters and mother. She is homely and overweight, but athletic. She has been the outsider in her own life and feels invisible. When the Asian character, whose name is never mentioned in the story, shows attraction to her and starts to follow her relentlessly, she tries to avoid him, but the stalking turns into a game of sorts for her, devising tactics of trying to get away from him and escape daily. As the stalking continues, other men start to take notice and are curious about the “invisible” Christine. She starts to date and consequently gains self-esteem and a sense of control over her life, she feels like a temptress. She fears him somewhat but also enjoys the attention in a strange sort of way. The character is ultimately deported back to his Asian country, and Christine discovers that she was not the only one that the Asian character stalked, which deflates her self-esteem once again. The moral or theme of the story is that of tolerance, wealth...
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