In Surfacing, Margaret Atwood, who is one of the most powerful writers in Canada, creates a nameless speaker and heroine in order to explore her identity as a woman and in a macro sense, as a nation. She accomplishes the whole process by the technique of using visual devices such as albums, pictures, video cameras, illustrations, and images in order to create a tool to use for the speaker’s job as an illustrator. First, she makes her heroine revise Canadian cultural myths and the official history of Canadian former settlers and re-evaluate all cultural assumptions and presuppositions on Canada and women. And she then causes her heroine to enter upon a quest for her self-identity, which has been fixed with in the stereotype of Western fashions, especially when it has related to the politics of the nation and the female gender. This indicates Atwood’s self-criticism of Canada and Canadians, in her hope to remake Canada as a nation, a culture, and a society and to help individuals, such as women, to find their proper identities, survive their attributed selves, and live their independent lives. Therefore, I can say that Surfacing is Atwood’s expression of love for Canada and of her dream for a hopeful future for all Canadians.


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pp. 177-199
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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