Indeed, in a novel like Surfacing, ‘language is both the vehicle of exploration and the site of combat’ (Hutcheon 1988:143); and its presentation of ‘a descent through space, time and water, and then a hazardous return to the surface’ (Piercy 1988:63) is only possible in terms of the language in which it is invented or reinvented.
a search for a feminine discourse: [the narrator’s] escape from, and challenge to, the patriarchal social order she has previously accepted as the ‘norm’, resulting in a ‘double-voiced discourse’ as [Atwood] depicts her protagonist gradually becoming ‘silenced’ in her inability to find expression through the dominant structure of patriarchy. (Spaull 1989:110)
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