World Literature in EnglishCanadian Lit. and Film
The Robber Bride (2)
by Margaret Atwood

  Leading Questions for  Chaps 39 - 49 

  1. Roz's obsession: The beginning of this section shows Roz shaken by the news of Zenia's return.  What else is she obsessed with? 
  2. Rox vs. Mitch: Towards the end of this section, we get to understand in detail how Roz loves Mitch.  Why does she love him so much?  Has she changed the nature of her love over the years?   What does her love for her husband reflect on her personalities? 
  3. Roz vs. Zenia: Is Roz's marriage destroyed by Zenia?  How does Zenia win Roz's sympathy and then trust, despite the history of the former's cheating her friends' and endangering or destroy their marriages? 
  4. Roz's identity: What is Roz like as a Jewish/Catholic woman, a career woman, a mother and a wife?   What's wrong with her trying "so hard to be kind and nurturing, to do the best thing" (332)?
  5. Contemporary feminisms: What do you think about the twins' attempts at turning all the characters in the stories they read into "she"?   And the development of WiseWomanWorld? 
  6. Survival: How Roz survives her trauma and obsession with Zenia and Mitch?   We will need to finish the novel to fully answer this question.  However, the narrator does offer some answers in this section and esp. in the last two chapters (48, 49). 


  Main Themes in Chaps 39 - 49 
(plot summary)
Roz's obsession 
  • with Zenia:  p. 325; want to seek revenge (dead or ugly) 326;
  • with Mitch: p. 326; 327; 329; 
  • with being wronged: p. 332.
  • Roz vs. Mitch (1) before marriage pp. 345 - 54 
  • Roz's concerns: her age; appearance 345; 348; Letting her drive her car 350; Mitch for money or not?  352-54; 
  • Mitche's  tactics: flower, planned to have sex on the first date?351    frustration 351-52
  •     Roz vs. Mitch (2) after marriage 1 pp. 335- 337;
  • Mitch as a robber bridegroom (or womanizer) 335; 
  • Roz's tolerance: he needs it to avoid facing aging. 336
  •     Roz vs. Mitch (3) after marriage 2 pp. 339 - 42 adopt apparent absent-mindedness; love him too much 340
  • play games with him 337 - 39; 
  • Roz's concerns with appearance: "baggy" 333; what her figure means to M 335; not showing her figure in daylight 335; her dental floss 339; her perfumes, etc. 340; 
  • motherly to Mitch -- needs a maid to share her work for her children 341
  • distrust him; 340 smells the aftershave; 
  • adore him p. 340; 
  • Mitch: directive 339
  •     Roz vs. Mitch (4) Mitch with Zenia
  • Roz: pretends to be composed 421-22; having flings with men; hiring a detective; hardens her heart after his second departure but still cries 425; rejects Mitch after his second return but not rejecting his photos 428-30; 
  • Mitch back 423; Mitch leaves for London 425; 
  • Zenia wants the pleasure of winning, while Mitch is concerned with helping her 424
  • suicide of Mitch 433; of Roz 435
  • Roz's identity a mother
  •  her motherly, protective love of her children 341
  • (Roz's own mother: strong when her husband is away, subdued and speechless after he comes back. 375; 359)
  • Roz's ethnic identity
  •  Roz's father: 334; 346; 
  •  Recieves Catholic education; gets called DP 365-66; 
  •  The conflicts between Jews and Catholicism 367; (conversion of the Jews.)
  •  Roz as hybrid: 388-90
  •  feels inferior to Mitch  329; 344; 
  •  finds out about the money: 393
  • sucked into the women's movement in the 70's.
  • Roz vs. Zenia
  •  reasons for Roz's listening to Zenia: her pride pp. 399-40; 408;
  •  Roz's wings: 411-12
  • Roz's feeling inferior to Zenia: appearance 415;
  • Roz's and Zenia's different ways with Zenia 419-- Zenia as vacancy.
  •    Zenia's identity  p. 3;    421; her resume 414; what the detective finds out 420-21 
      Roz's problems: jealousy and concern with appearance --> 
  •  jealousy: pp. 326; 421
  •  concern with appearance: mirror pp. 326-27; 442; not blonde; 
  • contemporary feminisms 1. the twins' insistence on using "she." pp. 330-31
    2. WiseWowanWorld supported by Roz: the need for "a friend" 395; like sleepover parties she misses 395; 
    3. from overalls to dress for success 398; 
    4. promotion and commercialization of the magazine's business 417-18
      Roz's survival  1. Roz's strengths: putting on a clown face 346; her good will 339; 
    2. Her criticism of Mitch: sex-stereotyping; concerned with her money 352; 
    3. self-knowledge and knowledge of contemporary gender relations: "the Zenias of the world" 442; cannot be extremely good or evil 442-43. 
    4.  influence of her mother as an older woman; "stop woolgathering" 439;
    5. good wil between her and her friends and daughters 435-37; 443-44; her genuine concern for Tony 441; for the twins 444.