Gender Issues in Atwood's Novel "The Robber Bride"

From the Perspective of Roz

Essay, 2018

4 Pages


that we can include in the concept of "sisterhood" especially when it comes to facing the
same enemy, Zenia, and full of differences when it comes to
war of the sexes
, and to each
one of the three understanding of the story, and understanding of the world . in this respect,
the paper focuses on the character of Roz in relation to female issues and her personal
perspectives toward life, and other characters in the novel.
Roz, as well as tony and Charis, was betrayed, and she is deeply and negatively
influenced by Zenia, that stole Mitch from her, as she stole West from tony, and Billy from
Charis. This old pain is rising again after five years in the restaurant brings to her life the
forgotten dark memories and the unanswered question: why Zenia done it? And while Tony
consider it to be an act of exercising Men Power represented also in wars that are all man
made, Roz stands helpless, she has no answer for such a strange, illogical and unfinished
struggle. This eternality of the struggle with/against/ inside Zenia is, "because nothing begins
when it begins and nothing's over when it's over" (the robber bride p4), is clearly also
expressed In Atwood's short story "I dream of Zenia"
which shows the continuity of Zenia `s
Effects on the characters life and psychology. Roz rejects Zenia' s actions and has a deep
hatred feeling towards her. And as she said during the death ceremony of Zenia: "I want to
see where they're putting her, so I can walk the dogs there" p20
This quotation reflects the joy within this death sphere, and the white emotions inside
these dark moments created by the
unhuman Zenia in the point of view of Roz: "If she was
a fellow human being, I'm the Queen of England.p21. Roz tries to escape the memories of
Zenia, tries to forget her, and tries to expel her even from language and words by the question
raised in page 38 "why give her the air time?", but in reality, it was impossible for her and
for all to escape Zenia, it was so hard to have a net night dream. But still raised the question
behind the reasons of this hatred emotions towards Zenia, is it really because of Zenia' s bad
behavior including fake stories and stealing men? Or is it a women's business including
jealousy from Zenia `s beauty and tools of seducing men?
These questions regarding Roz relations with Zenia and towards Life
are arises especially if
we stop at her social class and her life rhythm.
"In her dream Roz is opening doors. Nothing in here, nothing in there, and she's in a
hurry, the airport limousine is waiting" p85
This shows, to some extend Roz capitalist and material identity, and the size the wealth she
lives in, and the extent of her attachment to life which is based on selection and taste
3 See Paul SEBRIGHT 2013: The War of the Sexes:
Margaret Atwood: I dream of Zenia with the bright red teeth, a follow-up story of Atwood's novel
"the robber bride"2012

represented in her relation with clothes, choosing restaurant and even food. "she'd rather
dream about snail-covered coats than about Mitch" p85
She loves to be unique, to be different, to own what the others don't own, and she likes
discovering and trying new things. "She likes eating in places where no one from her office
would ever eat, (...). Charis ...She's tried telling Roz that all life is equally real, but Roz
doesn't appear to understand what she means" p73
Roz point of view in this regard is totally different from that of Charis, but still, inside
Roz richness and power, there is another weak and poor Roz connoted in here fear from
Zenia, and even from her lack of self-confidence regarding her Body, her ideas, and her
relation with Zenia. This is clearly represented in her dialogue with the mirror in page 320
"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most beautiful of us all?
-Depends, says the mirror. Beauty is only skin deep.
Right you are, says Roz, I'll take some anyway. Now answer my question.
I think you're a really terrific person, says the mirror. You're warm and
generous. You should have no difficulty at all finding some other man.
I don't want some other man, says Roz, trying not to cry. I want Mitch.
Sorry, says the mirror. Can't be done.
It Always ends like That." Page 320
Her we see clearly Roz emotional side declared even by Charis in page 314 `
all appearances ­ Roz is a sensitive person", she tries not to cry while expressing her need
for a Man /Mitch. This idea expresses the conflict between the contradictions within the
feminist identity. Especially inside the feminist movements and struggle to overcome the
stereotypes created within the social construction of roles and labors. Here we have Roz
rational vs rose the emotional, Roz the rich appearance vs Roz the poor and weak appearance.
Roz that trust the Men, but at the same time, she doesn't trust the Mirror, which mean herself,
her face, and her beauty.
The novel presents also another aspect of Roz, it is Roz the mother and her relation
with their children. She tries her best to be a god Mom, but at the same time she is suffering
with that and she is to some extent a failure in that mission. She "is crying again. What she's
mourning is her own good will. She tried so hard, she tried so hard to be kind and
nurturing, to do the best thing. But Tony and the twins were right: no matter what you do,
somebody always gets boiled"
Margaret Atwood : the robber Bride: page 325, McClelland 1993
Excerpt out of 4 pages


Gender Issues in Atwood's Novel "The Robber Bride"
From the Perspective of Roz
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ISBN (Book)
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gender issues, feminism, women's collective identity, sisterhood, zenia, women's identity
Quote paper
Adil Draissi (Author), 2018, Gender Issues in Atwood's Novel "The Robber Bride", Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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