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"stone Mattress" Analysis

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Atwood’s portrayal of the relationship between an aging widow and her high school rapist is altogether complex and ironic. This is exemplified throughout the story by including flashbacks that are indicative of the tainted history that Verna and Bob once shared. Likewise, the specific details within Verna’s flashbacks gives insight in how much or how little each character has changed which brings into question who the true predator is.

Apart from Verna’s flashback, Atwood’s critical and cruel tone along with her word choice are prominent in the depiction of the predator v.s. prey like relationship that Bob and Verna possessed. “Sniveling idiot” and “she had been stupid” are phrases Atwood uses to create a contradistinction between Verna’s past self and Verna’s present self. Fourteen year old Verna, characterized as foolish and naive, is replaced with a person more wise and mature, someone more willingly to use rather than be used.The irony becomes apparent when Verna’s recollections about her tainted history with Bob are made known. The Verna that is portrayed as a gold-digging, narcissist in the beginning of the story is then transformed into somewhat of a sympathetic character. Whether or not Atwood intentionally wanted Verna to be sympathized with or merely wanted Verna and Bob’s history to be justification to why murdering Bob is plausible, is quite ambiguous based on her tone. But it is indicated by Atwood’s complex tone that the coincidental reunion between the two is meant to be all around ironic, for Verna is no longer the prey but the predator while Bob, the sexual predator, becomes the prey. In addition to this, selection of detail and characterization are used to convey the cruel irony of the relationship. In the story it is mentioned that Bob is the main reason to why it was necessary for Verna to become strong and it is suggested that Verna’s present predatory behavior was a result of Bob sexually assaulting her. This



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