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Atwood's novel is predicated upon the idea of understanding that people and things are not what they initially appear to be. The process of revelation about both political and emotional reality lies at the heart of the intertwining narratives in the novel. One example of a quote that can foreshadow how this process would play out is reflective of how betrayal and hurt lie at the base of so many human interactions:
If you knew what was going to happen, if you knew everything that was going to happen next—if you knew in advance the consequences of your own actions—you'd be doomed. You'd be ruined as God. You'd be a stone. You'd never eat or drink or laugh or get out of bed in the morning. You'd never love anyone, ever again. You'd never dare to.
The quote foreshadows how Iris comes the people around her. The quote foreshadows how Iris plans to leave the narrative of her own life as unknown until her granddaughter will be able to process what has happened. The turns that take place in the people she knows and the ones that she thinks she knows are reflective of the idea that individuals do not know everything. At the same time, the quote's ending note reveals exactly how awful it might just be to know everything about a person. The quote foreshadows what Iris will come to learn about her husband, a reality in which she recognizes that she no longer can love him and not even "dare" to do so. In this light, Atwood's quote helps to represent an example of foreshadowing.
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