“I’m the plot, babe, and don’t ever forget it”: Margaret Atwood, Lorrie Moore, and Jennifer Egan’s Experimental Short Story Collections Open Access

Lieb, Jessi (Spring 2022)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/fq977w04g?locale=en


This thesis includes three case studies of unconventional narrative collections and analyzes how they use their experimental aspects in combination with their more traditional aspects to represent women and their experiences. The texts that are studied are Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, Lorrie Moore’s Anagrams, and Margaret Atwood’s Good Bones and Simple Murders. Each text utilizes subversive forms, genres, characters, and plots to illustrate points about storytelling, gender, and the endings available to women. This thesis includes an analysis of the writers’ uses of metafiction, unusual narrative position, intertextual references, and parody to compare and contrast the three collections. Finally, this study argues that some of the studied texts utilize their unconventional nature more effectively than others.

Table of Contents

Introduction — 1

The Importance of Perception in Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad — 5

Representations of Trauma in “Safari” — 7

Kitty Jackson: Sexual Assault and Celebrity — 13

Sasha Blake as the Silent Protagonist — 19

Lorrie Moore’s Struggle to Reflect Identity in Form in Anagrams — 27

“Escape from the Invasion of the Love Killers” — 28

“Strings Too Short to Use” — 30

“Yard Sale” — 32

“Water” — 36

“The Nun of That” — 38

Margaret Atwood’s Art of Surprise: Good Bones and Simple Murders — 46

Moore, Atwood, and the Salience of Happy Endings — 47

“There Was Once” — 53

“Making a Man” — 57

“The Little Red Hen Tells All” — 60

“Unpopular Gals” — 64

“Let Us Now Praise Stupid Women” — 68

Conclusion — 75

Works Cited — 79

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