The Robber Bride


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The Robber Bride

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Jun. 2, 2008, 8:20am

I have an Autographed Copy of Margaret Atwood's Book Group Companion to The Robber Bride which has a series of thirteen questions I thought I would post for everyone's discussion later on. How does everyone feel about it?


Bearbeitet: Jun. 2, 2008, 2:10pm

The Robber Bride

Topics For Group Discussion

1. In The Robber Bride Tony says that people like Zenia don't get into your life unless you invite them in. What devices does Zenia use to first gain entry into the lives of Tony, Charis, and Roz? How does she alter her techniques to attract and control men?

2. Is there one character you identify with more than others? Why?

3. On the surface, Tony, Charis, and Roz are not a bit alike yet similarities exist. For example, during their childhoods they each developed what could be called "dual" identities. How do the psychological devices they developed as children help or hinder them? In what ways do their own children differ from them?

4. While seeming all powerful, the constantly changing Zenia lacks a center of her own. Is it possible for women to achieve the same kinds of power that men do in today's society, or do they have to break rules and operate as outlaws? Discuss Charis's grandmother. Do women have a kind of power that is different from male power?

5. Magic can mean two thigs: sleight of hand played by stage magicians, and true "magic," or supernatural ability. What role does each kind of "magic" play in the novel, if any?

6. The name of the restaurant where Zenia reappears is called The Toxique. What role does naming-of persons and places-play in this novel?

7. War provides a subtext, and even possibly a framework, for this novel. The male characters are not the only ones affected by it. How are the others affected? How is Zenia affected? Which wars are mentioned?

8. Read the poem "The Robber Bridegroom," reversing gender as you read. What does this poem taken together with the poem "She," tell us about the nature of evil?

9. Discuss the poem "The Loneliness of the Military Historian". What does it tell us about differences between the way men and women traditionally deal with violence? Does Atwood make a value judgment?

10. The American writer Lewis Hyde has asked, "Why is the Trickster the Messenger of the Gods?" Is Zenia a trickster? Is she also a messenger of the gods, and how?

11. Is there a difference between the lies others tell and Zenia's lies? Are there "good" lies and "bad" lies? Do the hearers play a role in the construction of these lies?

12. Think of female villains from literature and film. What do they seem to have in common? Is female villainy different from the male variety?

13. William Blake said of Milton's Paradise Lost that Milton often seemed to be of the devil's part without knowing it. Does Atwood have a sneaking sympathy for Zenia? Do you?

As everyone will be eventually reading or even rereading The Robber Bride I thought I would put these questions out there for everyone to see and think about while they are reading the book. I have never read The Robber Bride before so I have absolutely no idea what any of these questions from The Book Group Companion is even talking about. As I read the book I will be taking some notes along the way so I can answer these questions.

I hope everyone that reads the book will think this was a fun exercise to do and maybe something for us to think about possibly doing for Margaret Atwood's other books in the future and maybe some other LT groups out there will also want to do the same thing as well. I just thought I would also say there are no answers at the end of the pamphlet so I guess no one has to worry about either right or wrong answers. Just different interpretations of what they mean to us as individuals.