What are the themes of The Edible Woman?  

One of the main themes of The Edible Woman is the complex nature of consumption. As someone who works in consumer marketing, Marian understands very well how the desire to consume can be very powerful. And yet, ironically, she becomes unable to consume food.

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Due to her job in consumer marketing, Marian understands all too well how the desire to consume can be controlled and manipulated in order to sell products. In the hands of advertisers and marketers, consumption goes beyond the simple satisfaction of bodily needs to embrace a much larger number of human wants.

Ironically, Marian's sophisticated inside knowledge of consumption in the modern world coexists with an ability on her part to satisfy the most basic biological need of all: the need to eat. Not long after she gets engaged, she finds that she is unable to eat food and soon develops a serious eating disorder.

In Marian's anorexia, one could argue that Atwood is attempting to address the complex, multi-faceted nature of consumption in the modern world. The seemingly inexhaustible drive to satisfy our wants is in some way related to the neglecting of our most basic needs, such as the need for food. This especially seems to be the case with young women like Marian, who are expected to...

(The entire section contains 5 answers and 846 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 1, 2021
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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 5, 2019
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