I've read that there are two basic plots:
A man goes on a journey
A stranger comes to a town
and really, it's shocking how well these work. Huck Finn? A man goes on a journey. Jane Eyre? A woman goes on a journey. Light in August? A stranger comes to a town. Moby Dick? A man goes on a journey. And so forth. Some would say this is depressing--why keep writing these two narratives?--but glass full people will recognize just how possible it is to make these stories new over and over and over. Mainly, though, it leaves me feeling uncomfortably close to being a structuralist, but I digress...
Margaret Atwood's "Happy Endings" works in a similar vein, calling our attention to the underlying narratives that are perhaps too common, and more importantly, makes me think about the gender implications of these common endings. Ah, John and Mary. Adam and Eve. What have you.
I'll save talk of this until class, though. For now, let me just add that Atwood's novels are amazing. Oryx and Crake is one of my favorites of the last decade.
5 years ago