The Edible Woman Chapters 5-8: Questions and Answers

Margaret Atwood

Chapters 5-8: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does Ainsley criticize Clara’s lifestyle?

2. What reason does Ainsley give for wanting to have a baby?

3. What does Marian decide to do about her friend’s sudden decision to have a child?

4. What is Marian’s first impression of Duncan?

5. How did Marian meet Peter?

6. Why does Peter choose the bathtub (according to Marian)?

7. Why does Ainsley show up at the bar dressed to look much younger than she actually is?

8. What does Marian decide to do about Ainsley’s use of
deception?

9. How does Marian interpret the look Len gives her in the bar?

10. Why does Marian run away? What (or who) is she running from?

Answers
1. Ainsley thinks that Clara allows herself to be treated like a thing. She thinks that she should do something.

2. Ainsley thinks every woman should have a baby because “it fulfils your deepest femininity.”

3. Marian initially tries to think of a way to stop Ainsley but then becomes resigned, thinking that it isn’t any of her business. She decides that she will simply have to “adjust to the situation.”

4. When Marian first sees Duncan she thinks that he is about 15. She is also struck by his thinness (he is described as
“cadaverously thin” and as an “emaciated figure” whose ribs stick out) and melancholy eyes.

5. Marian met Peter at a garden party following her graduation. He was a friend of a friend. They began seeing each other over the summer and he soon became a “pleasant habit.”

6. Marian thinks that the bathtub lovemaking fits into the same pattern that began after two other “unfortunate marriages.” She thinks that Peter is trying to assert his youthfulness and spontaneity by revolting against the stale doom he associates with marriage.

7. Ainsley knows that Len likes his women young and hopes that he will be a suitable candidate for her baby plan.

8. Marian thinks that it is unethical of her to let Len be deceived but wonders what she can do and whether it is any of her business. She is also afraid that Ainsley may somehow retaliate if she ruins her plans.

9. Marian suspects that Len gives her a look because he thinks that she is being purposely self-effacing and that her relationship with Peter is more serious than she had said.

10. There is no simple answer to this question. Marian herself may not know why she begins to run.