Novel Review | The Edible Woman | By Margaret Atwood

Novel Review | The Edible Woman | By Margaret Atwood


The edible woman is her first story of her which was published in 1969. It tells the story of a woman Marian who begins to identify herself with food that she loses the ability to eat. The narrative shifts from the first person to the third and back again to illustrate her detachment from reality and her ability to regain control.


Margaret Atwood was born on November 18 in 1939 in ottawa. She is a Western poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist inventor, and environmental activist. Her famous works include.

●The handmaid’s tale in 1986

● Cat’s eye in 1989

● Clias grace in 1996

And in the story collection

●Good bones and simple murders in 1994, and a volume of poetry,

●Morning in the burned house in 1995

So, if we talk about characters in this story we have 6 characters-

●Marian mac Alpin who is the protagonist of the novel.

● Anisley twice who is Marian’s roommate.

● Peter Hollander who is Marian’s boyfriend.

● Duncan who is a college graduate.

● Len is Marian’s college friend.

● Clara is Marian’s college friend.

The edible woman this story tells the story of Marian McAlpin, a young single woman who works for a market research company. And right now is unable to foresee a fulfilling career within the company, and she begins to worry about her future and about what she might become.

She is First shown as a person who loves food a lot and loves to eat a lot. She dates peter who is a dependable but boring man. Ainsley who is her roommate shares a top-floor apartment in Toronto, Canada with her.

Clara was Marian’s college friend, she also keeps in touch with her. Clara dropped college while she was doing her second year to marry joe. Now she is pregnant and expecting her third child.

One day, Ainsley declares that she intends to have a child without getting married. Marian is shocked, but Ainsley claims that fathers are the ones who ruin families these days.

She was brought up by her mother after her father had deserted them. She sets her eyes on len, who is Marian’s college friend and has no interest in having a family.

Marian works on a survey collecting responses for a new kind of beer, where she meets a smart exciting graduate student, Duncan, whose answers piqued her interest in him.

Marian goes out for dinner with her boyfriend peter and len. Halfway through the dinner, Ainsley shows up dressed like a schoolgirl, and fully intent on seducing len. Marian begins to dissociate from her body as len recounts a gory rabbit hunt. She is unable to finish her food and runs from the restaurant. Peter chases after her and, since he is unaware of Ainsley’s plan, asks Marion why she couldn’t behave more like her roommate.

At the end of the dinner peter propose to Marian, and she accepts his proposal.  She thinks peter, is an ideal choice since he is a lawyer and is bound to be successful.  Similarly, peter feels that marriage will aid his career and since most of his friends are married he feels that should settle down.

But she is discomfited when peter asks her to pick a date for their wedding. She is unable to answer him.

Ainsley, on the other hand, has managed to seduce len and she tells him that she is pregnant.  She starts avoiding him since she has got what she wanted. Len confides in Marian, telling her about Ainsley’s pregnancy, and during the conversation he says that he has been afraid of eggs since he was a child. when Marian hears this she is disturbed and stops eating eggs.

Subsequently, she loses the ability to eat vegetables and cake.

Ainsley attends a workshop to learn about how to take care of her child and there she learns that the father plays an important role in a child’s life. So she goes back to len and apologizes and asks him to accept her.

Despite her engagement, Marian continues to see ducan. The day after peter proposes, she ruins into ducan at a laundromat where they talk and share an unexpected intimate kiss.

Marian stops eating meat when sees peter cutting steak that night. Marian feels that peter is metaphorically consuming her.

Soon, she is unable to eat many of the things she used to enjoy. She begins to fear that she may not be normal but Clara, assures her that the eating problem is simply a symptom of brid nerves and that she will soon get over it.

As the wedding date approaches, they decide to throw a party. Peter asks Marian to get her hair done and buy a new dress. She buys a red dress which she thinks, is not quite her.

Before the party, Ainsley does Marian’s makeup which was red lipstick and false eyelashes. When Duncan sees Marian he is upset by how she looks and storms out. Marian follows him and the two spend the night in a seedy motel and have unsatisfying sex and then breakfast the next morning. She is unable to eat anything at all. She realizes that she must face her reality and that she must deal with peter and their approaching wedding. According to Duncan, Marian’s problems are all in her mind she has invented her “own personal cul-de-sc ” and will have to think her own way out.

Marian realizes that peter is metaphorically consuming her. She feels that after their marriage, she will cease to exist. To test him, she bakes a woman-shaped cake and offers ut to him. She taunts him by saying that this is what he really wants. He is disturbed and leaves angrily without eating the cake and the wedding is called off. She eats it herself.

In the end, Marian is eating regularly. Duncan tells her that she is “back to so-called reality” and a “consumer” once again. Marian offers the cake to Duncan who eats the rest of the cake.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.