Literature Study GuidesSurfacingPart 3 Chapter 25 Summary

Surfacing | Study Guide

Margaret Atwood

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Surfacing | Part 3, Chapter 25 | Summary



The narrator wakes up the next morning to the sound of a powerboat. There are five men in it. Two climb the hill to the cabin and go inside. She's not sure who they are. She runs and hides, and they eventually leave. When she returns, she is bleeding and limping, but she feels the paths are forbidden to her, so she walks beside the path. As she approaches the garden, she sees what she thinks is her father. But when he turns toward her, she has other thoughts: "Although it isn't my father it is what my father has become." She has a vision of a fish jumping from the water, transforming into a painted fish, then back into a real fish. As she goes over to the fence, she sees footprints. She thinks they are made by whatever was standing there. Then she realizes they are her own footprints.


The transformations seen in Chapter 24 continue. The narrator envisions herself as the dead heron, a victim of senseless violence: "They will shoot me ... hang me up by the feet from a tree." Also like in Chapter 24, in which she saw her mother transform, in this chapter she sees what her father "has become." Her father changed, too. She must face it, and so in her delusion she does face it, quite literally. The fact that the footprints of the figure she saw end up being her own footprints suggests she must face and accept the change in herself as well. The transformation of the real fish into an artificial fish and back to a real fish suggests the narrator, too, can regain her natural self.

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