Analysis of Margaret Atwood's "The Year of the Flood"

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Julie Stover
Honors 200-012
Essay #3
In Margaret Atwood’s novel The Year Of The Flood she unfolds a bizarre, futuristic world of nature; one in which we see the primal instinct to survive. After a super disease wipes out the vast majority of the population, the few remaining characters endure dangerous creatures, strange weather, and other risky survivors. Why did certain individuals live while others perished? Was it simply fate, or was their survival predetermined by their beliefs? Atwood’s cunning style of writing leads me to believe that both were necessary factors to these characters survival in this version of nature.

The Year Of The Flood is set into the future, where conditions are horrible even before the start of the killer disease. Corruption is too common, which includes, rape, murder, and theft in the area known as the Pleeblands (rephrase-awkward). The local police have collapsed due to lack of funds and a private organization called the CorpSeCorps, who is controlled by corporations, have taken the role of law enforcement.. There is facility called Painball, in which condemned criminals have the to option to be killed or join a Painball team. Painball is a game, “You got enough food for two weeks, plus the Painball gun – it shot paint, like a regular paintball gun, but a hit in the eyes would blind you, and if you got the paint on your skin you’d start to corrode, and they you’d be an easy target for the throat slitters on the other team” (Atwood 98). Painball was available to watch on television, similar to a reality show. (total change of subject)There is little nature in this world, species such as tigers and other animals have gone extinct, and scientists have replaced these creatures by gene-splices of other animals such as the lions and lambs to create the liobam. In this distorted world there were groups such as the gardeners. (Weak transition, big jump)

The gardeners were a religious group of naturalists. They lived in abandoned buildings and rooftops in the Pleeblands. Lead by Adam One, a religious and compassionate man, the gardeners would live sustainably by collecting rainwater, growing their own crops, raising bee’s for honey, and teaching their children these eco-friendly ways of life. The gardeners often prayed to God, never ate meat, and prohibited any electronics. Adam One often spoke of the waterless flood, in which he predicted God would punish the human species for their crimes against nature, he says, “Perhaps God will create another, more compassionate race to take our place” (Atwood 424).(kind of a long sentence) However the gardeners were well equipped for the waterless flood by preparing rations and storing them in multiple locations, constantly washing their hands to prevent the spreading of germs, and by relying on their faith in God to spare them. These different locations, in which supplies were stored, were symbolically named Ararat, which Dictionary.com defines as, “The mountain upon which Noah’s ark came to rest as the waters of the great flood receded.” (A lot of commas try to re-word to cut down) The gardeners were sympathetic and took strangers in, one of which was named Toby.

Toby’s mother and father both died when she was in college, with no money she dropped out of college and began working at a restaurant called SecretBurger. During her employment there Toby was raped and beat by her boss, Blanco. If she tried to escape he would kill her, which was no empty threat because he murdered other girls who were in the same situation. Then Adam One came and rescued Toby from SecretBurger and took her to the rooftops where she would be safe.

Toby was grateful for the gardener’s actions but was unsure if she belonged with them. She was not one for religion and thought the Gardener’s actions were odd. “Since she was accepting the Gardeners hospitality, and under false pretenses at that – she wasn’t really a convert she felt she should pay by working very hard”...
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