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The Blind Assassin: I-VIII

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Presentation on theme: "The Blind Assassin: I-VIII"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Blind Assassin: I-VIII
As a Historiographical Metafiction

2 Questions How is history written in this novel?
Whose Histories? –Canadian history since 1870’s// family history Emplotment The use of Historical Documents Purposes of Writing and Audience

3 Historiographical Metafiction
History – problematized thru’ Plural Emplotment, through the use of Historical Documents Re-Visioned and re-interpreted for some specific purposes (Writing and Audience) Atwood: “The past no longer belongs only to those who lived in it; the past belongs to those who claim it, and are willing to explore it, and to infuse it with meaning for those alive today. The past belongs to us, because we are the ones who need it” (Atwood qtd in Howells 116) The Blind Assassin – understanding women’s positions as victims and “bodiless hands in the photo”

4 History and Plotlines Public History: Capital vs. Labor + the two World Wars Three plotlines – A. The Chase family – class conflicts and labor strikes; double (social/gender) victimization of women; women’s roles B. The Blind Assassin – conflicts between love and class C. The stories of Zycron and Xenor --Blind assassin’s different endings (“Carnivore stories”)

5 C. The stories of Zycron and Xenor
As allegorical comments on capitalist history – Interpreted differently by the man and the woman The Carnivores Peach Women of Aa’A Purpose of writing – to survive and to critique Alex’s style p. 131 For money p. 280; 250

6 B. Love and Class Relations between “He” and “She”
His personal motivation in telling the story: P. 17 (“park bench”) purpose of telling the story Their different views of the carpet (22) and blind assassins (23) The conflicting motives 261 His self-defense: About his friend’s ‘car’ (“The lipstick heart”) “The café” – her distinction from the background (too clean, too blonde, the coffee); his sarcasm “The chenille spread” p.111

7 Their Hopeless Love Their Gender Positions: Their Conflicts:
Story reflecting on her position p. 30 p. 124 (his talking like a cowboy) Their Conflicts: His readiness for them to part: p. 26, p 107, 110, 120 Pain mixed with pleasure 110 His anxiety and possessiveness p. 262; 280 Their conflicting interpretations: End of the red brocade The Carnivores stories

8 The Usages of Historical Documents
Newspaper -- to offer official accounts and reflect social ideology Photographs – to present constraints, as well as something for revision and revelation (e.g. 239) Notebooks – to discover secrets (e.g. 318  494; 500)

9 A. Purposes of Writing Iris –
Iris first to the critics (287) and then to Sabrina (288, ) To heal and to confess guilt of being blind (318) (history as pain 56) To present “truth” (284, ): e.g. women’s positions 328


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