Penelopeia, Ravenous Butterflies

“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”
Margaret Atwood – The Penelopiad, 2005

Margaret Atwood has been featured before in my posts about the “Handmaids Tale.” She is a hero of women’s stories and I appreciate her. I will read this one as it rewrites the fallacies of the men that wrote the original tales.

I am also a water warrior, and the above sentiment is a clue. Water does not resist; it finds a different path. Go with the flow!

Please click the link below to learn the entire story of how this book came to be. Atwood was under pressure to produce and found her next inspiration in the tale of the Odyssey. Quite a story it is, and Ms. Atwood found where it left out important details and wove a new tale around the incomplete one.

The Penelopiad – Wikipedia

The Penelopiad is a novella by Canadian author Margaret Atwood. It was published in 2005 as part of the first set of books in the Canongate Myth Series where contemporary authors rewrite ancient myths. In The Penelopiad, Penelope reminisces on the events of the Odyssey, life in HadesOdysseusHelen of Troy, and her relationships with her parents. A Greek chorus of the twelve maids, who Odysseus believed were disloyal and whom Telemachus hanged, interrupt Penelope’s narrative to express their view on events. The maids’ interludes use a new genre each time, including a jump-rope rhyme, a lament, an idyll, a ballad, a lecture, a court trial and several types of songs.

The novella’s central themes include the effects of story-telling perspectives, double standards between the sexes and the classes, and the fairness of justice. Atwood had previously used characters and storylines from Greek mythology in fiction such as her novel The Robber Bride, short story The Elysium Lifestyle Mansions, and poems “Circe: Mud Poems” and “Helen of Troy Does Countertop Dancing.” She used Robert Graves‘ The Greek Myths and E. V. Rieu and D. C. H. Rieu‘s version of the Odyssey to prepare for this novella.

Feminism and double standards, Narrative justice, and Influences are just a few of the paragraphs to open up in the link. Margaret has a pulse on good writing.

“…myths cannot really be translated with any accuracy from their native soil — from their own place and time. We will never know exactly what they meant to their ancient audiences”.

Margaret Atwood, “The Myths Series and Me” in Publishers Weekly.

Penelopeia, Ravenous Butterflies
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