The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood - Wide Reading Assignment
Question.1 - Write a brief overview of the plot (250 words)
The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood is a story narrated by Odysseus’ wife Penelope, expressing the events that she had to endure mainly while her husband was away on his ‘odyssey’. The story is narrated by Penelope who is in 21st century Hades; so each chapter in the book jumps from present day to the century of which the previous events occurred. The story is not exclusively based on the events that happened while Odysseus was fighting in the Trojan War and at sea; it tells the story of Penelope’s own ‘odyssey’, the one she endured on her own for twenty-odd years. The book explains to the reader the troubles she endured, with loneliness, the suitors who were constantly fighting for her and the kingdom, the maids, her son Telemachus, and the never ending shroud she was weaving for her father-in-law. The book also includes a brief introduction as to how they met and an overview on the main characters. The story includes chapters that are narrated by the twelve maids, who are the young women that Penelope relied on as sources of information and of course for housework, cooking etcetera. The story begins in Ithaca where Penelope was born; it is here that she gets married to Odysseus before moving to Ithaca to start a new life. As the book goes on, the narrator of each chapter alternates between Penelope in Ithaca, to Penelope in present day Hades, to the twelve maids. Each of these narrators tell a section of the journey Penelope had whilst Odysseus was away. The final chapter narrated by Penelope describes what happened when Odysseus returned, the positives of that and the negatives.
Question.2 - When + where was it set? How where the main action occurs using maps
The settings in Margaret Atwood’s Penelopiad are located all over the Mediterranean, mainly in Ithaca and Hades; the two places of which Penelope tells most of her story. The first...