Elements of Stories in Surfacing

Topics: Fiction, Character, Novel Pages: 2 (871 words) Published: March 24, 2013
The key to an intriguing story is a strong plot that draws the reader in, forcing them to ask questions and analyze the text by examining some of the elements of literature. Elements in literature have been taught in the education system since students were in grade school; themes, conflict, climax, and symbols are just a few. These elements have allowed students to think of complex ideas with such simple concepts; some of the best pieces of literature contain all of these components in various forms. Surfacing by Margaret Atwood is no exception to this; she presents numerous conflicts and symbols in various forms, which encourages the reader to dive into the surface of the text and use critical text analysis skills to unfold the author’s true intentions. In earlier schooling, students have been taught some of the simplest forms of conflict; “man versus man”, “man versus nature”, “man versus himself”, “man versus society”. The ability to create conflicts in various forms is an art form that Atwood has demonstrated in this novel. Atwood was able to create these four kinds of conflict within this book, all resulting around the main character. Although the unnamed narrator, in her late twenties, faces all four kinds of conflict, the internal conflict within is the driving force of the story. A type of conflict the narrator faced was with her boyfriend, Joe. Joe asked her to marry her however he rejects his proposal because she was married before and it ended. She is nervous to engage in another relationship like that again, and this upsets Joe causing the appearance of a “character versus character” conflict; Atwood makes it seem like a “character versus character” conflict however, the underlying issue is the narrator not wanting to let go of her former relationship (conflict against her “former” husband), which results in a conflict against herself. Societal conflicts can sometimes be difficult to justify; factors such as the setting must be taken into...
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