Lusus Naturae Sparknotes

Decent Essays

An Analysis of Lusus Naturae In a time never given, a young girl suffers from Porphyria, and goes through a journey of self-discovery and acceptance in the short story, Lusus Naturae by Margaret Atwood. The reader never learns the narrator's name, and she is only known as Lusus Naturae, which translates into freak of nature. Diagnosed by a foreign doctor, the young girl seems to be forever cursed and becomes a burden to her family and shame to her village. Throughout the story, Atwood uses different forms of figurative language-such as symbolism and irony- and the first person narrative to portray the theme of how self-discovery can be an independent, and lifelong journey. Although, in the story, the narrator seems to be struck with Porphyria, which can cause the hallucinations and voices she was the sole listener to, along with the excessive hair, and pink teeth, and red nails. This “curse” could be symbolic of something much more common and less gruesome. The porphyria could represent the pubescent stage in the young girl’s life. In the beginning of the story, she goes on to recount what her family said when she was burdened with the disorder-” ‘She was such a lovely baby,’ my mother would say. ‘There was nothing wrong with her.’ It saddened her to have given birth to an item such as myself: it was like a reproach, a judgement.What had she done wrong?” (Atwood, 263). Through this quote, it can be taken that she was not always like this, or as her grandmother would

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