Anything for "LOVE": Joan's struggle to be accepted.

Essay by SweetLikeHoney May 2003

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Relationships that we create with others through our lives can be a strong influence on all of us. These relationships can define who we are and the quality that will be integrated into our lives. Loving relationships are a good source of comfort and support while intense relationship can cause stress and discouragement. In Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood, the main character, Joan Foster, is a confusing and complex person who had more than her share of chaotic relationships. Through her childhood and teenage years she had an agitating relationship with her mother, and later she had the confining relationship with her husband. These relationships had a profound impact, leaving us wondering: How important are the relationships in Joan's life, and how do they affect her identity and personality as a whole?

The first major relationship Joan was faced with was that of her mother. The feeling of not being wanted or loved leaves Joan in a struggle to fit in and be accepted by her mother.

When she fails at this, Joan starts to resent her mother and becomes belligerent. Joan's identity at this point, shaped by her constant need to oppose everything her mother demands of her. Her main way of doing this is through overeating and making a skeptical of herself by wearing outrageous clothing. "She thought I should buy clothes that would make me less conspicuous, the dark dresses with tiny poka-dots and vertical stripes favored by designers for the fat. Instead I sought out clothes of a peculiar and offensive hideousness, violently colored, horizontally stripped"(Atwood 85). Joan deliberately went out of her way to annoy her mother and didn't care what the opinion of the town was of her, so long as she succeeded at her mission. Along with the clothing fiasco, Joan would...