Summary Of Lusus Naturae

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An Analysis of “Lusus Naturae” During a time never directly stated, 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, or “freak of nature” (Atwood p.263). 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. The narrator guides the reader along her life and adventures after the falsifying of her death, and the peregrination of being alone and acceptance of her fate. Throughout it, Atwood uses different elements of figurative language-including symbolism and irony- and the first-person narrative. A theme of how self-discovery can be an independent, and lifelong journey can be inferred because of these. In “Lusus Naturae”, Atwood creates symbols to deepen the meaning of the story. The burdening disorder could be symbolic of something much more common and less gruesome than the supposed Porphyria, which was the inferred diagnosis by the editors (p.263). Porphyria can cause hallucinations and the voices she references, along with the excessive hair, pink teeth, and red nails (p.263). It may symbolize the pubescent stage in the young girl’s life. In the beginning of the piece, 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.

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