Margaret Atwood Questions and Answers

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What are the characteristics of bats as they are portrayed in the short story "My Life as a Bat"?  

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Throughout the story, by positing the narrator as a reincarnated bat, Margaret Atwood calls attention to the differences between bat and human behavior. The narrator, while straightforward in identifying bats as predators, also shows bats as the prey of humans. By inverting the relationship between person and animal, the narrator portrays bats more positively than the reader is probably used to considering them. The narrator further anthropomorphizes bats by endowing them with religious beliefs.

Bats have a few things they put up with, but they do not inflict. When they kill, they kill without mercy, but without hate. They are immune from the curse of pity. They never gloat.

In this passage, the narrator contrasts what bats endure to what they do. Bats “kill”; conversely they must “put up with” others’ attempting to kill them. If they lack “mercy” and “hate, then it is likely that humans possess these characteristics and “inflict” them on bats. Similarly, humans, unlike...

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