What are the themes of The Edible Woman?  

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The Edible Woman is a novel by Margaret Atwood first published in 1969. Atwood herself describes it as a "proto-feminist" novel. Although it is less fully realized in its treatment of gender identity than Atwood's later work, the role of women and issues of patriarchy are essential to the plot.

The protagonist Marian is involved in an unsatisfying relationship, and both her job and her relationship with Peter undermine her sense of self. Although the theme of self-realization of women under patriarchy is important, the plot structure does suggest that a better relationship with Duncan might improve matters rather than fully addressing the structural issues of gender roles.

Another theme of the book is the relationship between food and gender, with Marian's temporary anorexia symbolizing her discomfort with her female role. While the men in the novel are portrayed as uncomplicated consumers of food, women have a more fraught relationship with it, being consumers and producers of food—and are...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 620 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 5, 2019
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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 5, 2019
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