Canadian consciousness in Margaret Atwoodâ€™s: Surfacing
Surfacing predates the environmentalist movement, but the narratorâ€™s reverence for the Canadian wilderness is a pro-environmentalist one. The narrator feels protective of nature and reacts with hostility to the American tourists who overfish, kill for sport, and litter the ground. Surfacing is full of tourists, urban outgrowth, and technology that directly encroach upon the unspoiled land. These environmental concerns still resound today given continuing trends toward overconsumption and the prevalence of technology that relies upon natural resources. Atwood remains true to the basic theme which informs all her prose and poetry - the conflict between form and experience - on which she plays many variations. In this conflict, psychic survival depends on upon escaping the distortions and constrictions imposed by the accepted ordering of North American society, individual consciousness, inherited language, and ultimately, civilization itself. With Atwood, geography is never a matter of accident; in Surfacing, not only is Canada an essential element in the heroine's search for her past and for herself, but by using Quebec in this way, Atwood places herself within a small but steady stream of English-Canadian writing.