The Edible Woman Chapters 30-31: Questions and Answers

Margaret Atwood

Chapters 30-31: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does Marian bake a cake shaped like a woman?

2. What does she hope to accomplish by presenting Peter with a substitute woman?

3. When Marian completes her cake, she feels a certain pity for it. Why?

4. Is there any evidence that Marian is still not completely sure of herself?

5. What does Ainsley think of Marian’s cake-woman?

6. What is to be made of Marian’s statement, “Now that I was thinking of myself in the first person singular again. . .”

7. Does Ainsley find a father image for her baby?

8. What does Duncan think of Marian’s explanations for breaking off her engagement to Peter?

9. How does Duncan interpret Marian’s new-found ability to eat?

10. Who severs the cake’s head from its body?

Answers
1. The simplest answer to this question is that Marian wishes to present Peter with a test.

2. Marian accuses Peter of trying to assimilate her. By presenting him with this substitute cake-woman, she hopes to reclaim her right to determine her own identity and reject the version of herself that he has been trying to create.

3. Marian feels powerless: the fate of the cake, which looks delicious and very appetizing, has been decided.

4. She believes that her actions will appear infantile to a rational observer. She also thinks that if Peter finds her silly she will accept his version of herself.

5. She thinks that Marian is rejecting her femininity.

6. Marian has regained control of her own narrative, her own identity.

7. Yes, she marries Fish, Duncan’s roommate.

8. He thinks the idea that Peter was trying to destroy her is just something she made up.

9. He tells her that she is back to “so-called reality”—she is a “consumer.”

10. Marian severs the cake’s head from its body.