Working my way through ‘The Antagonist’ wasn’t a challenge. Lynn Coady created a extremely relatable book with everything from the highest of highs to the lowest of lowes. Everything from fist fights to relationships, the novel is brought to life by the main Character, Rank, who leads us on a wild ride through his past life.
To get a better understanding of Rank as a charactor and the novel itself, feminist theory is a great tool. Feminist theory studies gender inequality, roles and stereotypes. By applying this specific theory to ‘The Antagonist’, it allows the reader to get a better understanding of not only Rank, the main character, but the novel as a whole. Feminist theory allows the reader to expand more in depth about the characters and their actions towards woman.
Early in the novel I learned Rank’s mother, Sylvie, had died quiet early in his life. Leaving him with Gord, his father whom he greatly disliked. Sylvie is a very big part of Rank’s life despite having passed away early on in his life. As a female character, Sylvie seems to have many different effects on Rank as a character, as a result I believe we can experience a more emotional side of Rank. It’s appears as if Rank takes his mother’s ’emotional side’ in the way he expresses himself toward his enemy, Adam in his various emails.
Rank displays a wide spread of emotions when he’s at his computer.
I found a very unique relationship between Rank and his mom, Sylvie. Rank always spoke very highly of her in comparison Gord, the awful step-father. For example, very early in the novel, Rank says, “There was a dad, there was a mom… The dad was a prick and the mom was a goddess.” (Coady 9) when introducing his parents.
After being adopted Rank immediately knew him and Sylvea would have a better relationship with each other. However not the mother son type relationship you would expect. Rank seems to see Sylvie of more of a friend or sister compared to a mother. Rank often comes off as the ‘big brother’ type, he is very protective of Sylvie. In an email to Adam, Rank says, “all of a sudden, I remembered who I was talking to and now I’m feeling protective of her.” (Coady 14)
Rank is very protective of his step-mother Sylvie.
Something I found very interesting was how Rank exclusively calls his step-mother Sylvia instead of Mom, even though he references her as his mother multiple times. There are multiple times in the book that Rank uses his mother’s first name, for example, “Sylvie however, immediately held out her arms to me, bracing herself, bending a little at the knees.” (10), and “Sylvie always told the bastard part of the story…” (10). To me this seems like Rank lacks respect for her. He visualizes her as a friend or a sister, someone equal to him instead of a parent figure.
Women are however not represented as less dominant in the grand scheme of the text. The book takes place and what seems to be a very similar culture to ours. A society with sports, jobs, school, and relationships. Rank ultimately connects with woman better than he days men. With a poor combination of a ‘prick’ of a father, and a terrible ex-bestfriend, women seem to help Rank confront his emotions and deal with the struggles of his mistakes.
Crossman, Ashley. “What Is Feminist Theory?” ThoughtCo. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2017.
Coady, Lynn. Antagonist. Erscheinungsort Nicht Ermittelbar: House of Anansi, 2014. Print.