TYOTF

So, starting The Year of the Flood, I was automatically relieved that this book seems to be a lot more straightforward than The Female Man. It really keeps my interest since it jumps from character to character, much the way Joanna Russ did in her novel. Atwood keeps alluding to this “waterless flood” but doesn’t give many details. How is this flood waterless?? Surely it has to be some kind of symbolism. Clearly it did a lot of damage and destroyed society and killed a ton of people. I’m just aching to find out more about it in detail and how Ren and Toby survived. The gory imagery gets me every time- fingers laying around, a scrappy dog tail dropped by a vulture, an arm subtly hanging out of the window. I can’t wait to hear more details. I also keep thinking that the Gardeners are some kind of allusion or symbol. There’s definitely a religious undertone, and it reminds me a lot of Jonah’s Arc, since they were able to predict the flood and it talks about preserving the animals and repopulating the earth, and the flood was also sent because of the corruption and evil on the planet, much like in the Bible. Another thing I am still unclear about is if they are on Earth and also what time period this is. I know that year 25 is the year of the flood, but on what scale does this refer to? So many questions!!

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4 responses to “TYOTF

  1. I was wondering the same thing! I was thinking that the “waterless flood” was some sort of communicable disease- at least to some extent. I thought this because when Toby leaves the spa to get the gun she talks about how she was able to discourage two teens from giving her troubling by coughing and begging for help– as if she was gravely ill. They did not want to risk infection by stopping to rob her. Similar to a lot of large scale disease outbreaks such as the black plague. Show symptoms of illness? People might just throw you out into the street to be collected by the grave diggers now before they catch your germs (or as they thought- spite of God/ bad luck). There are also references to nose cones (reminds me of the nose filters in Tiptree). The nose cones also remind me of how during the SARS outbreak in China everyone wore surgical masks to prevent spread of the disease through breathing in the infection. So I think part of this “waterless flood” was disease related but it probably has other components!

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  2. I was actually thinking today how it is kind of apt to be reading a book in which disease is a concern in the wake of the current moral panic over ebola in the US.

    In addition to surgical masks, plague doctors in the 17th century wore masks that were actually shaped like cones — so there’s one more connotation (and we can probably continue adding to the list. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plague_doctor

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  3. I completely agree with you on how Atwood’s novel is a lot less confusing! It’s true that by changing the point of view of the story we are able to find out more about the world they live on. The waterless flood just sound down right scary. The name of the novel is The Year of the Flood, making us at first believe that it was a true flood. I believe it’s going to be an illness that strikes the earth! Just one massive, quite contagious, illness. Because it’s a flood I thought it was going to be a biblical reference to relate to the gardeners. So for it to be a waterless flood just made it more interesting. Maybe Atwood is modernizing it. Changing the story we all know into one that could maybe happen today. Who knows! Interesting book none the less!

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  4. I think that the reason her novel is less confusing is because it has a more focused idea of who its audience is. Check out my blog post! I talk about this.

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