Claire Helakoski ACF Abstract FY11

"Analyzing Atwood: How Structure Defines Character in 'Lady Oracle' and 'Oryx and Crake.'"

Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters Conference

Claire Helakoski

An examination of the works of Margaret Atwood shows her belief in wave writing that creates resonances within a piece. In Oryx and Crake and Lady Oracle, Atwood creates a woven structure of past and present to help these resonances come about. The back and forth construction of her novels show the progression of her writing as well as allow for the strategic filtering of information. The woven structure of these works, the frame-like arrangement of past and present, lends itself to Atwoods wave theory. Through the sources of her works themselves as well as reviews and interviews with Atwood, her structural style and the progression of her writing can be seen. Transitions and connectivity between flashbacks establish Atwoods structural skill in her earlier novel that has a similar, if differing construction in her later work. Both works also contain pasts which slowly reveal themselves; in both cases waves are created by characters in the pasts of the main character of the story. Though another similarity comes through the pre-determined climaxes of each book, Oryx and Crake illustrates Atwoods progression through a more compelling construction leading to an unforeseen twist and a double climax.