Metafiction in Happy Endings

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Metafiction

Professor Bampton
English 111E
September 28, 2012
“Happy Endings” by Margaret Attwood, is an oddly structured, metafictional story, which includes a series of possible scenarios all leading the characters to the same ending. This paper will show how Happy Endings is a metafictional text. It will also explain which parts of the story are indeed metafictional.

Metafiction is defined by “Dictionary.com” as, “fiction that discusses, describes or analyzes a work of fiction or the conventions of fiction”. Basically, this means that the author and the reader are both aware that the text is fiction, and are reminded of this by the techniques the author uses. There are many reasons that a particular text could be metafiction. Some of the reasons are; if the author refers to another text in the actual text of the story, if the author involves themselves with the fictional characters, or if the author rejects conventional writing and experiments with language and/or form. Some more reasons that would make a text metafictional are; if the text is examining how fiction works, if the author violates literate levels by not using punctuation, and if at any point the author speaks directly to the reader in the text. All of these reasons reject the conventional style of writing and do things a little differently than normal. I believe that this makes the story more interesting to read and analyze.

In the text there are many different sections which include metafictional influences. One of these influences that Attwood incorporates is the lack of details in each of the sections of the story. She tells the reader what they need to know and nothing more. This is an example of Attwood being experimental and rejecting conventional writing.

At the very beginning of the story, Attwood speaks directly to the reader when she says, “If you want a happy ending, try A.” (Attwood, 53). This shows that section A is meant to be a happy ending but not necessarily a...
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