Format: Paperback, 720 pages
Publisher: Seal Books
ISBN: 978-0-7704-2821-1 (0-7704-2821-5)
Pub Date: February 16, 1999
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1. In The Robber Bride Tony says that people like Zenia don't get into your life unless you invite them in. What devices does Zenia use to first gain entry into the lives of Tony, Charis, and Roz? How does she alter her techniques to attract and control men?
2. On the surface, Tony, Charis, and Roz are not a bit alike yet similarities exist. For example, during their childhoods they each developed what could be called "dual" identities. How do the psychological devices they developed as children help or hinder them?
3. While seeming all-powerful, the constantly changing Zenia lacks a center of her own. Do women have to break rules and operate as outlaws to achieve the same power as men? Do women have a kind of power that is different from male power?
4. Is there a difference between the lies Zenia tells and those told by other characters in the novel? Are there "good" lies and "bad" lies? Do the hearers play a role in the construction of these lies?
5. Read the poem "The Robber Bridegroom," reversing gender as you read. What does this poem tell us about the nature of evil?
6. The American writer Lewis Hyde has asked, "Why is the Trickster the Messenger of the Gods?" Is Zenia a trickster? Is she also a messenger of the gods, and how?
7. Think of female villains from literature and film. What do they seem to have in common? Is female villainy portrayed differently from that of men?
8. William Blake said of Milton's Paradise Lost that Milton often seemed to be of the devil's part without knowing it. Does Atwood have a sneaking sympathy for Zenia? Do you?
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