Margaret Atwood’s "The Blind Assassin" as a Social Chronicle of 20th Century Canada


The aim of this article is to demonstrate through Margaret Atwood’s novel "The Blind Assassin" the social changes that took place in 20th century Canada. Depicting the fall of a once respected Toronto bourgeois family of Chase, the book covers the period from the early 1900s through World War I, the Depression years, and World War II to the late 1990s. By situating the story of the Chase sisters against the broader backdrop of Canadian history, Atwood presents the transformation from the rigidly divided society of the past into an egalitarian society of the present day Canada. To give "The Blind Assassin" a deeper sense of history the author incorporated into the novel various documents from the past, such as newspaper clippings. Although many of these cuttings are of Atwood’s contriving and were merely inspired by actual events, they allow the author, through the use of pastiche, to poke fun at a number of dominant ideologies of the past and highlight how profound and inevitable the social changes of the last century were.


Margaret Atwood; Canada; memory; social change; class division; feminism


Published : 2014-12-30

Feldman-Kołodziejuk, E. (2014) “Margaret Atwood’s "The Blind Assassin" as a Social Chronicle of 20th Century Canada”, Crossroads. A Journal of English Studies, (7). doi: 10.15290/cr.2014.07.4.01.

Ewelina Feldman-Kołodziejuk 
University of Bialystok, Poland  Poland