Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad

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In Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad and in Arni Samhita's Sita's Ramayana, a whole new perspective on male-epics opens up. Sita and Penelope's version of events draws readers with their personal tales of them narrating their lives. Penelope and Sita provide a character many women can identify with, with their feelings of empathy, shame, and hope. The majority, of writers throughout history are male. To be literate enough to record everything down you had to be rich. So, writers were often male and rich. Telling stories orally, however, was something anyone could do. Such as the “maids...ever-flowing fountains of trivial gossip” (Atwood 30), so it makes sense that Sita and Penelope should tell their sides, even though even the common people…show more content…
The story is told in Sita's voice and from her perspective. Her trials, desires, emotions, and hopes take up the narrative. She is kept in Ravana's garden and she can only hear about the war for her freedom from Hanuman or Trijatha, the woman that visits Sita often with her visions. Sita doesn't label people black and white, she empathizes with all characters in The Ramayana: “Her sense of what has befallen her renders her open to what other women endure. And rather than divide the world up into good and bad, right and wrong, Sita’s vision encompasses all those who suffer, endure and ultimately bear the consequences of what kings and wars do — and this includes not only women, children and ordinary people, but also animals and birds” (BIP 1). The idea of the female trial, emotions, and life can be universal among women; Telling their side of the story is a different matter. Penelope had to wait until she died, and even then wait until now in The Penelopiad, to tell her story. Penelope had to wait for a time when human culture would be open enough to allow a woman to tell her side of the story and not be rejected or scorned straight away. In the line: “I repressed a desire to say that Helen should have been kept in a locked trunk in a dark cellar because she was poison on legs” (Atwood 79), it shows how women censor themselves to save another's

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