Literature Study GuidesSurfacingPart 3 Chapter 24 Summary

Surfacing | Study Guide

Margaret Atwood

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "Surfacing Study Guide." Course Hero. 8 Jan. 2018. Web. 16 Nov. 2018. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2018, January 8). Surfacing Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved November 16, 2018, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2018)



Course Hero. "Surfacing Study Guide." January 8, 2018. Accessed November 16, 2018.


Course Hero, "Surfacing Study Guide," January 8, 2018, accessed November 16, 2018,

Surfacing | Part 3, Chapter 24 | Summary



In the morning the narrator wakes up in her lair. She finds she is now forbidden to go through the gate into the garden, so she forages for food. She envisions the baby growing inside her like the drawing she made of herself as a baby. She feels other changes happen; her vision is different, and she is transparent. She has become one with the animals and trees.

In a little while she feels separate from the animals and trees again. As she returns to the cabin, she has a vision of her mother standing in front of it and feeding the birds. But as she approaches, full of fear, her mother disappears. The narrator thinks her mother has become one of the blue jays she was feeding.


This chapter focuses on transformations—those the narrator is undergoing and those she must accept. Although the transformations are delusions, they represent important areas of emotional healing and recovered wholeness. Her growing fetus, real or imagined, looks like the drawing she made of herself as a child. This connects her identity as a childbearing woman and mother to her memories of own mother, and it connects the lost pregnancy with a new one. Her vision transforms, representing her new perspective and shifted sense of sight or insight. She transforms into an animal, representing her rejection of the artifice women are expected to conform to as well as of the human tendency to abuse power.

In addition, the transformation the narrator sees her mother undergo, from human to bird, represents her acceptance that her mother is dead. From Chapter 1 the narrator has been uncomfortable with the way things have changed since childhood. Now she has to face and accept the changes.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Surfacing? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!