The Year of the Flood!
 
I thought these links were interesting!
You guys should check it out!
We were discussing today how this book is sort of a warning call for the whole world.
It now is actually is on a book tour and now has turned into an environmental fundraiser as well! :)
Check this site out!

 
 
Atwood ‘rewrites’ the biblical stories of Paradise, Adam and Eve, Mt. Ararat and Noah’s ark to prophet the waterless flood. Perhaps she references the ‘waterless flood,’ disaster because of God’s promise in the Bible that He will never again destroy the whole earth with a flood:
           
           “ ‘I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.’ And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the cloud, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.’” Genesis 9: 11-17


However, this covenant between man and God is perceived in a different manner by the Gardeners. For them, this message is a “warning to God’s beloved Creatures: Beware of Man, and of his evil heart” (91). Perhaps  Atwood interprets the Bible in a different manner through this eco-religious cult to impose a warning to a contemporaneous world which has misused nature and taken nature for granted. 

                One of the hymns from God’s Gardeners Oral Hymnbook, My Body is Earthly Ark, is also an allusion to the book of Psalm 91, a hymn in the Bible.

                He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’

                Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.

                He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

                You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

                A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.

                You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

                If you make the Most High your dwelling- even the LORD, who is my refuge-

                Then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.

                For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

                They will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

                You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent

                ‘Because he loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

                He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.

                With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.’”


Some of the verses are similar to the verses in the God’s Gardeners Oral Hymnbook. For instance, the phrase “My Ark will then come safe to land by light of Spirit’s guide,” (93) is referring to the angels stated in Psalm 91 who are sent to “guard you in all your ways.”

TheArarat, in the hymn of the Gardeners, alludes to the evidence of Noah’s Ark but also can be an allusion to the dwelling place of the “Most High,” God, in order to introduce the utopia world of the Gardeners.

                

 

 

 
 
There are a host of biblical allusions, characters, hymns, biblical verses in the Bible.
The obvious ones are Adam and Eve and the place the Gardeners live

I will try to upload the specific references and allusions later.
However, it is difficult to plainly define the allusions of the Bible as it appears Margaret is knowledgeable of the Bible but does not 
wholly agree with the Bible. Therefore, at many times, she changes the core value of the Bible and changes some of the meanings and tells the stories in a different tone and manner.

In fact, although the Gardeners appear to represent the Judeo-Christianity at first, the Gardeners themselves are mixed with the theology of
"Buddhism mixed with drug-induced visions, New Age mysticism."



 
 

Atwood has contributed greatly to the canonization of Canadian literature. She has been highlighted not only in Canada, but also internationally. First of all, she is known for her literary criticism, Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature.

One of the commentaries on Survival says:

When first published in 1972, Survival was considered the most startling book ever written about Canadian literature. Since then, it has continued to be read and taught, and it continues to shape the way Canadians view themselves. Distinguished, provocative, and written in effervescent, compulsively readable prose, Survival is simultaneously a book of criticism, a manifesto, and a collection of personal and subversive remarks.”

In Survival, Atwood extends Canadian identity and argues that Canadian literature or being in Canadian Literature is characterized by the symbol of survival. Here is a clip where a Professor (Professor Crowley) discusses Atwood’s theory of survival in Canadian literature. The symbol of survival is expressed through the use of “victim positions” in order to distinguish Canadian literature from other literature. Atwood’s Theory of Survival is greatly influenced by Northrop Frye’s theory of garrison mentality.

With the theme of Survival, Atwood therefore discerns a uniquely Canadian literature, distinct from its American and British counterparts. Canadian literature, she argues, is primarily concerned with victims and with the victim’s ability to survive unforgiving circumstances. Similar to other countries or cultures with a symbol (for instance, America's frontier, England's island), Atwood states that Canada and Canadian literature forms around the theme of survival. In fact, her work also exemplifies the theme of survival of Canadian literature. She examines destructive gender roles and expresses national concern over the subordinate role Canada (victim) to the United States (victor). 

Atwood’s contribution to the theorizing of Canadian Literature is not limited to her non-fiction works. The Journals of Susanna Moodie, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin, Surfacing, are some of her works that contributed to the postmodern literary theory of Canadian Literature. Linda Hutcheon calls it “Historiographic Metafiction.” Atwood explores the relation of history and narrative and the process of creating history. Atwood is recognized as the “Queen of Canadian Literature,” as she has written various pieces of literature and contributed a great amount in expanding literature in Canada.

 
 
Beware of Words. Be careful what you write. Leave no trails. This is what the Gardeners taught us” (p.6)

This again returns one to the importance of storytelling. In GGRW, Thomas King emphasizes the importance of telling the story correctly.The Gardeners in the Year of the Flood similarly appear to be careful how they tell their stories and the details they opt to include.“As for writing, it was dangerous, said the Adams and the Eves, because your enemies could trace you through it, and hunt you down, and use your words to condemn you.”

Ren, one of the main characters in the book, whom once lived with the Gardeners, also realizes that this is true from her own experience. After escaping from the Gardeners, Ren and her mom move to where they once lived, HelthWyzer, a corporation that is totally opposite from the Gardeners. There, she falls in love with a boy named Jimmy. As she falls in love, she keeps a record of her excitement and expresses her love and emotions towards Jimmy. It is thrilling as long as she is in the relationship. However, after they break up, she realizes why the Gardeners told her to “be careful what you write” (229). “They were my own words from the time when I was so happy, except that now it was torture to read them” (229).
 
Perhaps, Atwood expresses this in order to uncover the importance of what we write as a “Canadian Literature” or “Literature in Canada.” Writing can be dangerous, open to treachery, perhaps irresponsible, even factitious. It can always be turned against you. It can deceive. How is Canadian Literature different from 50 years ago from that of today? In what ways did literature exclude and include?  In what ways did literature deceive? And what I want to focus finding is, in what ways Atwood contributed to expand literature in Canada.

In this book, Atwood includes violence, obscenity, comedy, doubt, yearning, endurance and love. She is aware of the issues not only current in Canada, but also issues that are pertinent on a more global level. She is not afraid to communicate her worries through her book. The work is haunted by death and the effects of death, and even more by survival and the struggle to survive.
Philip Marchand comments in the National Post aboutThe Year of the Flood:In this novel, then, the jury's out on the struggle between irony and eloquence, human vanity and human heroism.”

 
First Post! 10/31/2010
 
My first impression of The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood was confusing. At first, I was not able to follow the plot and had to take notes for each chapter. However, as I read on, I found the plot to be quite intriguing and even gripping. It is a creative story on a possible future apocalyptic world, which I think everyone, once in their lifetime, probably ponders.

As a Christian, I believe in the future apocalyptic that is recorded in the book of Revelations in the Holy Bible. The waterless flood, described in this book, leads to a different conclusion than that of the Bible, which is interesting to read because it opens an interesting issue that is arising in our society.


Examining some of her
book reviews on The Year of the Flood, I anticipate reading her former book, Oryx and Crake. It would appear that there are many parallels between these two books.