“Identifying with the Animals”: Language, Subjectivity, and the Animal Politics of Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing

  • Robert McKay


Animals are prevalent in Margaret Atwood’s early work, whatever the genre. Images of identification with slaughtered cows and hunted rabbits proliferate throughout The Edible Woman, and in Lady Oracle a “con-create artist” makes sculptures from squashed ani- mals that prefigure the contemporary animal-based art of Damien Hirst, Mark Dion, and Bruce Nauman. Atwood discusses “animal victims” as par- adigmatic in Canadian literature in her critical work Survival, and she insists in “Don’t Expect the Bears to Dance” that “zoos make her ner- vous.”1 Perhaps most ubiquitously in her poetry, Atwood provides “a mul- titude of animals of diverse generic and aesthetic kinds,” as Kathleen Vogt has noted.2


Maternal Body Sexual Politics Ethical Relationship Ideological Critique Animal Politics 
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Copyright information

© Mary S. Pollock and Catherine Rainwater 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert McKay

There are no affiliations available

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