Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sin Eater

In the short story “The Sin Eater”, Magaret Atwood introduces the protagonist Joseph, who is presented as a doctor and through the short story she compares him to the Sin Eater. The Sin Eater is a personage who would be paid to take out all the sins, and those sins would be transfer through food. Using characterization, the author is able to illustrate how Joseph only look for a personal gain, from his patients instead of helping them .We should focus on how Joseph is been compared to the Sin Eater and how Joseph seem to have sexual relation with his patients.

The Sin Eater is been compare to Joseph many times in the short story. The author uses the protagonist Joseph to describe the Sin Eater. They are been compare to illustrate how Joseph is only looking for a personal gain his patients, he always talking about himself. In addition, Joseph seems to be looking for a Sin Eater himself to take all his sins away. In the passage of the short story on p.316: “If you won’t talk to him, he’ll bloody well talk to you... He’ll drove on and on until you figure out that you aren’t paying him so he can talk to you about his plants, youre paying him so he can listen to you talk about yours.” We are able to see how Joseph only talks about himself and look like he just wants to gain a personal g gain: to find a sin eater for him. In many passage of the short story, we are able to see how Joseph holds many sins about himself and is how he looking for a way to get rid of them. We are able to see this in this passage of The Sin Eater on p.320: “I myself cherish an abiding hatred for the boy who lived next door to me when I was eight... I’ve forgiven a lot later transgressions but if I ran into the little sod tomorrow I’d stick a knife into him.” He able to let out one of his sins explaining it to his patients, instead of listening to him.

The author seems to show that there are sexual relation between Joseph and his patients. In the beginning of the short story, Magaret Atwood describes how his patients are all women’s. In this passage of the Sin Eater on p.316: “He gazes at me, grinning away, and I remember certain stories I’ve heard about him, him and women. He’s had three wives, to begin with. Nothing with me though, ever, though he does try to help me on with my coat a bit too lingeringly. Why should I worry? It’s not as though I’m susceptible. Besides which he’s at least sixty, and the cardigan is truly gross, as my sons would say.” In this passage of the short story, we are able to acknowledge that he had at one point of his life three wives and how he only deals with womans most of the time. All of his wives seem to be almost the same considering they are all blonds according to this passage on p.320:” The three wives have a family resemblance-they’re all blondish and vague around the edges.” We acknowledge that they are very similar one to another.  

First of all, Joseph seems to not really listen to any of his patients and end up talking about himself most of the time. We are aware that Joseph tries to flirt with all of them and he seems to be wondering if they like him. He repeats up to three times to the second wife if she likes him. In this passage of the short story, on p.322: “Do you like me? Joseph says from his armchair. ‘What do you mean do I like you? I say. It’s early on; I haven’t given any thought to whether or not I like Joseph... ‘But if you met me under other circumstances, ‘Joseph persists, ‘would you like me?’ ‘I have no idea, ‘I said. ‘I can’t imagine any other circumstances.’ “We are able to see how he persists many times searching for her to say that she likes him, he seems like he looking for her validation for her. In addition ,  in this other passage of the text we see how woman’s seem to be all over him on p.318 : “ When I lived with Joseph there were always these were always these incidents, phones call at two in the morning always killing themselves, throwing themselves all over him, you couldn’t believe what went on.” Yet again, you can assume him having some sort of sexual relation with his patients.

In conclusion, Joseph only looks for a personal gain from his patients and this is shown through the short story when the author compares the Sin Eater to the protagonist. We conclude that Joseph pretend to listen to his patients and end up only talking about himself. Also, through all the short story we notice that he just looking for a Sin Eater Himself to clear out all his sins and other sins that people have transfer to him. In addition, there are some insinuations that Joseph has sexual relations with his patients, which includes his three wives’s. Finally, after looking of all the aspects of the short story we understand how the still is an exiting tension between him and his patients.


  1. Hi, I hope you have a good day. Thank you for inspiring us. You bring joy to our face.


  2. I read your blog.I thought it was great.. Hope you have a great day. God bless.

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  3. As the article says, “The Sin Eater” is a social document which talks about the inconsistencies in the Canadian society. The technique of comparison used in this post is appropriate to understand the philosophy of Atwood. Visit Custom Essay Writing Service for more analyses.