Thoughts from the front lines

Far from reality?


In her book The Maddaddams, Margaret Atwood describes the lives of the survivors of the waterless flood. This group of survivors is mostly made up of Gardeners and of Maddaddamites and a few lost painballers. They have no families left, they have to scavenge for food, they are under imminent threat all the times, and they have no beds. Basically none of their basic needs are met. When reading stuff like that, it’s hard to put ourselves in that situation. How do you think you would react to this new life? When I read what Atwood wrote, it’s hard for me to put myself in their shoes and imagine how I would react to having nothing to look forward to. What’s the point of trying if there’s no reward? That’s when I realised, there are people that are currently living like Atwood’s group of survivor. People living in war zones lives in very similar situation than the one Toby is in.


These images of Syria reminds me of what Toby describes in the book, the wrecked cars, the destroyed buildings, everything is quite similar. This is in no way a coincidence. Like everything else in the book, we are lead to believe that what happens in the book would never happen in real life, we wouldn’t let it. However, it is in fact happening every day. The people living in those conflict zones are in an even worse place than Toby as she currently is. In fact, there is about “five million people in Yemen, Somalia and northeast Nigeria, as well as areas of South Sudan where famine has already been declared” (Yemen and Somalia…). There is five million people that are being denied basic needs as I’m writing this at home, on my expensive computer, eating my expensive food, and after that going to sleep in my expensive bed. Atwood definitely put those similarity in her book to make us realize that they are people right now that are suffering and we are not even aware, nor even acknowledging it.


Atwood, Margaret. MaddAddam Trilogy. New York: Random House, 2013. Print

“Yemen and Somalia ‘months away’ from famine.” News | Al Jazeera, 22 Mar. 2017. Web

Further reading:

Fleming, Melissa, “The situation in Syria is only going to get worse … and here’s why.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 16 Feb. 2015. Web.


5 thoughts on “Far from reality?

  1. Interesting and honest post!
    There are two things that truly amaze me about the human race. The first one is that it is extremely easy for each one of us to take everything we have for granted. The second thing that amazes me is how we can literally can used to any way of living just as long as it doesn’t threaten to kill almost immediately. It may be hard for you to imagine living in a world like the one Atwood creates but if it’s that our nothing believe me you will adapt and learn to even enjoy whatever that particular life has to offer.


  2. Very interesting connection to Syria! Once you made the link I was able to understand Atwood’s writing even more. It’s always fascinating to find connections between the real and literary world.
    Also, I was naively unaware that Somalia and other countries are going through famine!
    I think one of Atwood’s many strengths is to portray a world through her books that seems far away from ours. When in reality her “fiction” is happening in places around the world which is very scary.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your article has caught my attention as it relates the book to the reality we face today. I agree when you mention that what is presented in Margaret Atwood’s book is not as bad as what happens in our world.

    I definitely feel bad for all the people who are living in bad conditions; it hurts to hear that millions are losing their lives but at the end I am living somewhat of a luxurious life compared to them and there is not much i can do. Although I donate money as well as clothing, i feel as if it is not enough. Sometimes we don’t appreciate the things we have while we for example, have a bed to go to every night while others don’t. Why can’t the world be a great place for all of us; Why can’t we all just live in good conditions?
    As you mentioned at some point, we don’t always realize that many individuals are suffering while we are enjoying life which is something I agree upon.

    Hopefully one day people won’t have to live in miserable conditions and lives won’t be lost!


  4. Your title immediately got my attention. Your blog is very straight to point, and you don’t away from the honest truth. Without a doubt, many elements in the trilogy Margaret Atwood wrote about, though over a century ago, very much do apply to our world and society today. The images Syria are definitely the most triggering. What is happening there is so sad! Your picture indeed depicts a similar dystopian world Atwood focuses on throughout the books. The world isn’t as pretty as we think it is.

    Good job on your blog!


  5. Wow, spot on! I agree that a lot of Atwood’s writing opens our eyes to the reality that others all over the world are living on the daily. I personally think the trilogy is extremely likely to happen in the near future, and as I was reading, I saw similarities that blew me away. For example, the pleeblands are a lot like some of the neighborhoods in Montreal where drugs and gangs are taking over (example: Pie-IX). Wars and seizing of lands are also taking place worldwide, as well as other catastrophes that Atwood incorporated in her novels. The most shocking of which? Pigoons exist! Pigs are being used to grow human organs as we speak! Crazy how spot on her predictions were.


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