Lusus Naturae

Jake Gorman
Professor Riddell
English Comp II
Sep 24, 2013
Freak of Nature
“Lusus Naturae” by Margaret Atwood was very intriguing. The main character was presented with some sort of problem or aliment that affected not only her but the people around her as well. Though all of her family was faced with this burden each of them reacted differently and made separate assumptions on what may have caused their her condition . The mother, sister, and grandmother were not accepting; instead they were very selfish and thought more of themselves than the unfortunate child. When someone has a disease or condition that is different, everyone in the family usually reacts in different ways. In this case most of the family reacted negatively and wanted to hide the young girl from their friends and the community they lived in.
The father, the most rational of all the family members, decided that she was sick and called on a doctor for a more educated opinion. The young girl did not look like a normal child with yellow eyes, red nails, pink teeth and long black hair. Even though it came as a surprise to the doctor he had seen a case such as this once before and referred to the young girl as lusus naturae or in other words, “freak of nature.” The Grandmother thought of the child’s problems as a curse or demon. There were many ways that the grandmother tried to cure the girl but none of them were successful. The Grandmother thought the girl was overtaken by a demon because her disease could not be treated with medicine. Since it could not be cured, she thought there was no way it could be a medical condition. To rid the child of her demons the grandmother tried praying as she held the child’s head underwater as well as sticking garlic cloves around her door frame.
The mother thought more of the situation as a burden or a punishment from God and was committed to live with it as long as necessary. Over time a form of resentment built up towards what used to be her lovely...