Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing as a Critique of the Enlightenment Reason

Hossein Pirnajmuddin, Omid Amani


Surfacing, a novel written by Margaret Atwood in 1972, portrays the domination of western civilization as a masculinist ideology over nature and woman in parallel. The novel is about the degeneration of the core ideas of the Enlightenment – rationalism and progress – into brute domination, colonization and the rift between nature and culture. This study attempts to demonstrate the centrality of this critique to the novel. Atwood scathingly criticizes the rampant consumerism and capitalism of the modern age embodied in the threat posed by American culture, or American mentality, to Canada and nature which runs parallel to the masculine rationality which wills to ‘submerge’ (as the central metaphor of ‘surfacing’ has it) the feminine and the natural. The paper also discusses a number of other related dualisms represented in the novel.
Key words: Margaret Atwood; Surfacing; The Enlightenment; reason; ecofeminism; nature; power


Margaret Atwood; Surfacing; The Enlightenment; reason; ecofeminism; nature; power


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