Terms in this set (11)
"And so I was handed over to Odysseus, like a package of meat. A package of meat in a wrapping of gold, mind you. A sort of gilded blood pudding" (39).
Atwood uses humor and sarcasm to show how women were treated. This goes along with the theme of feminism in that she gives a voice to the women's perspective, where usually only men tell the story. By calling herself a package of meat, she is revealing how they are only seen as objects of possession, not people.
"Water does not resist. Water flows... But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it...If you can't go through an obstacle, go around it."
This quote is symbolic of Penelope avoiding confrontation and problems through most of the book in accordance with the gender stereotypes of the time. Women were expected to go with the flow and mold to the desires of men, while men were allowed to confront and fight.
"He is very clever. And you're very clever too, they tell me. So you'll be able to understand what he says...it was lucky for both of us that he didn't win me!"
In this quote, Helen is not only insulting herself by claiming she isn't smart/clever, but she is also insulting womanhood and their identity. She is confirming the fact that the woman during this time where seen as objects that man could just "win," giving the women no value and no gender equality.
"But after several years the rumors stopped coming altogether: Odysseus seemed to have vanished from the face of the Earth."
Penelope uses this quote to close out the story because it shows from her emotional standpoint how her life had revolved around Odysseus's absence. Many rumors surround his return, and the quote is ironic because it shows Odysseus's identity as merely talk.
"Now that I am dead, I know everything." (pg 1)
This quote is significant because it emphasizes that during life, people deceive and keep secrets. It is difficult to know the truth because many lie in order to obtain their own image. Death is the only true freedom because life, especially as a woman, blinds one from the truth of life.
"Now that all the others have run out of air, it's my turn to do a little story-making."
This quote explains why Penelope has chosen now to tell her story. She knows that people mainly focus on her husband's adventures, and no one knows her side of the story. She wants people to know the truth, so she tells them.
"And so I was handed over to Odysseus, like a package of meat."
This quote is significant to the meaning of the work as a whole because it makes a sarcastic attack on the subject of women's rights compared to a man in terms of marriage, and how women are frequently objectified in their society.
"Cleverness is a quality a man likes to have in his wife as long as she is some distance away from him."
This quote explains that a man likes to have a clever wife but doesn't want her to seem smarter or brighter than him. This shows that in the novel, men are better than women and women shouldn't be seen as important. (Ironically, Penelope is smarter).
"I had a reputation to keep up, and the reputation of a king's wife is under constant scrutiny." (72)
Although Penelope is independent, she is still subject to the scrutiny of Odysseus and society as a whole because she is a woman and Odysseus is a man.
"The fact that my secret was betrayed was, strictly speaking, my fault" (115)
All secrets come out. She accepts responsibility for telling the secret to the maids which shows the development of her character into a stron independent women.
"Not Odysseus, that master disguiser!"(98)
The Chorus refers to Odysseus as "the master disguiser", which contributes to the theme of secrecy and trickery, which causes Penelope to be guarded towards her own husband. This secrecy drives the plot forward.
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