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2 Burnside Literature- A to Z
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The Robber Bride

by

The Robber Bride Cover

ISBN13: 9780385491037
ISBN10: 0385491034
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

1. In The Robber Bride Tony says that people like Zenia don't get into your life unless you invite them in. What devices does Zenia use to first gain entry into the lives of Tony, Charis, and Roz? How does she alter her techniques to attract and control men?

2. Is there one character you identify with more than others? Why?

3. On the surface, Tony, Charis, and Roz are not a bit alike yet similarities exist. For example, during their childhoods they each developed what could be called "dual" identities. How do the psychological devices they developed as children help or hinder them? In what ways do their own children differ from them?

4. While seeming all powerful, the constantly changing Zenia lacks a center of her own. Is it possible for women to achieve the same kinds of power that men do in today's society, or do they have to break rules and operate as outlaws? Discuss Charis's grandmother. Do women have a kind of power that is different from male power?

5. Magic can mean two things: sleight of hand played by stage magicians, and true "magic," or supernatural ability. What role does each kind of "magic" play in the novel, if any?

6. The name of the restaurant where Zenia reappears is called The Toxique. What role does naming--of persons and places--play in this novel?

7. War provides a subtext, and even possibly a framework, for this novel. The male characters are not the only ones affected by it. How are the others affected? How is Zenia affected? Which wars are mentioned?

8. Read the poem "The Robber Bridegroom," reversing gender as you read. What does this poem, taken together with the poem "She," tell us about the nature of evil?

9. Discuss the poem "The Loneliness of the Military Historian". What does it tell us about differences between the way men and women traditionally deal with violence? Does Atwood make a value judgment?

10. The American writer Lewis Hyde has asked, "Why is the Trickster the Messenger of the Gods?" Is Zenia a trickster? Is she also a messenger of the gods, and how?

11. Is there a difference between the lies others tell and Zenia's lies? Are there "good" lies and "bad" lies? Do the hearers play a role in the construction of these lies?

12. Think of female villains from literature and film. What do they seem to have in common? Is female villainy different from the male variety?

13. William Blake said of Milton's Paradise Lost that Milton often seemed to be of the devil's part without knowing it. Does Atwood have a sneaking sympathy for Zenia? Do you?

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Lauren Dupuis, June 11, 2014 (view all comments by Lauren Dupuis)
This is by far my least favorite Atwood, and I have read a lot of her work. I still enjoyed it, Atwood is amazing. But I caution anyone that hasn't read her before. Don't come to this book first. I don't want this to be your first and only experience with her writing.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Laurel Przybylski, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by Laurel Przybylski)
Margaret Atwood combines characters' perspectives and experiences throughout this book to create
a complete picture of a mysterious character, Xenia, who has affected the lives the three women, Tony,
Charis, and Roz. She insinuates herself into their lives and then managed to steal husbands,lovers,or
boyfriends from each of them. They each have a difference story of her life from her. They become friends
because of the betrayal they experienced at the hands of Xenia.

She shows up after a "staged death" at a cafe where the friends are having lunch after her "memorial".
They all find ways to solve the mystery of Xenia's death and continued life.
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Ariel Valladares, September 22, 2011 (view all comments by Ariel Valladares)
An absolute must-read! Wonderfully written and so easy to sink into--the hours spent reading will fly by. Margaret Atwood tells how some people, like Zenia, are just plain bad. Then some people, like Roz, Tony, & Charis, can be cut off at the knees, hearts ripped out their chests, but then rise to live again.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385491037
Author:
Atwood, Margaret Eleanor
Publisher:
Anchor Books
Author:
Atwood, Margaret
Location:
New York :
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Friendship
Subject:
Women
Subject:
British and irish fiction (fictional works by
Subject:
Humorous Stories
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
100
Publication Date:
19980131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
528
Dimensions:
8 x 5.2 x 1.1 in 0.8188 lb

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Robber Bride Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 528 pages Anchor Books - English 9780385491037 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , This splendid novel, first published in 1993, is an exploration of the paradox of woman as villain. With more than 400,000 copies already in print, this first appearance in trade paperback will allow thousands of new readers to enjoy Atwood's virtuoso wit.<P>Set in contemporary Toronto, the novel revolves around the lives of three fascinating women. Classmates from university, Roz, Charis, and Tony all shared the seductive and destructive experience of a past friendship with the flashy, sensuous, smart, irresistible Zenia. As the novel opens, they are twenty years past their college days and have met at Zenia's funeral. At lunch, after the funeral, they spot Zenia — not dead at all and up to no good.
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