The Edible Woman

The Edible Woman Imagery

Meat (Visual, Tactile Imagery)

Meat is described in visceral terms as Marian begins to feel more and more disgusted by it. She imagines the muscles and fibers tearing, and in turn, begins to imagine the cows that the meat came from and their brutal deaths at the hands of butchers. Meat becomes a source of extreme empathy as Marian envisions death every time she consumes it. The repeated descriptions of meat, and of the blood and tissue tearing, disgust the reader as much as they disgust Marian.

Apartments (Visual Imagery)

The visual interiors of Peter and Duncan's apartments are used to emphasize their roles within Marian's life and their personalities. Duncan's is dark, cluttered, and makes Marian both intrigued and uncomfortable. It is obscure—she doesn't understand Duncan, just like she can't make sense of the mess in his apartment. Peter's apartment, on the other hand, is meticulously planned and designed. It is filled with expensive furniture, which emphasizes Peter's burgeoning career and the status he hopes to occupy.

Snow (Visual, Tactile Imagery)

Snow features prominently in the scenes that occur at night in the novel. In the beginning, Peter picks Marian up while she's running away in the snow. In the end, Duncan and Marian walk through the snow in a park. The snow creates an aura of discomfort in both of Marian's interactions with the men; over the course of both scenes, she remarks how cold she is growing. It also serves as a unifying sensory element between the two scenes and sets them up to contrast with each other. The presence of snow also establishes the novel's setting, which is somewhere in Canada, perhaps an allusion to Atwood's own nationality.

The red dress (Visual Imagery)

The red dress that Marian dons for Peter's final party is a representation of stereotypical, extreme female sexuality. It is erotic and lewd, its red color a clear reference to lust. When Marian wears the dress, she feels extremely uncomfortable and unlike herself; however, it is this version of Marian that Peter praises, which shows how little he cares for Marian's true self. Duncan is the only one who acknowledges how the dress doesn't suit Marian, and how it looks like a costume.