Theme analysis from Atwood's short story "Bluebeard's Egg"

Essay by bubbles_15High School, 11th gradeA+, September 2004

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Atwood's Bluebeard's Egg is a narrative that supports the theme of perception being a human characteristic which only presents the truth the particular person wants to believe. The first evidence of this appears in Sally's description of Edward, her husband, who by her thoughts is a "dumb blond" that need her protection and intelligence to survive. "At set intervals an angel appears, bringing him food. That's fine with Ed who hardly notices what he eats, but the angel is getting tired of being an angel" (168, prgh1) We get this image of the "caring wife" protecting a not-so-intelligent husband out of love and pity. This is Sally's perception of the truth. On the other hand we see her immaturity in her diction ("heart-men" "fix their hearts", "looked like a giant-fig") which shows her ignorance of her husband's line of work which is substantially difficult and requires intelligence and dedication that few people possess.

This is why the readers start to doubt Sally's truth and at this point we side with the other "some" who say that he is "intelligent and even brilliant, otherwise how can he be so successful"? (151, last pgh) This first conflict that takes place in the readers themselves furthers the theme of the story. Who can we trust and why?

Sally's perception is the lense that we see the story through, but without it we wouldn't have a vision at all. So we have to take her reality and decide which truth we want to believe. Ed's truth of a middle-age well-off physician with a beautiful, young wife who "doesn't care much for anything" except the nice routine of his life. Or Marylynn's perception of a liberal, independent and confident woman who doesn't need a husband to enjoy her life. Or finally Sally's desperate attempt...