Metafiction In Happy Endings Analysis University Essay Example

“Happy Endings” by Margaret Attwood, is an oddly structured, metafictional story, which includes a series of possible scenarios all leading the characters to the same ending. This paper will show how Happy Endings is a metafictional text. It will also explain which parts of the story are indeed metafictional. Metafiction is defined by “Dictionary. com” as, “fiction that discusses, describes or analyzes a work of fiction or the conventions of fiction”.

Basically, this means that the author and the reader are both aware that the text is fiction, and are reminded of this by the techniques the author uses. There are many reasons that a particular text could be metafiction. Some of the reasons are; if the author refers to another text in the actual text of the story, if the author involves themselves with the fictional characters, or if the author rejects conventional writing and experiments with language and/or form.

Some more reasons that would make a text metafictional are; if the text is examining how fiction works, if the author violates literate levels by not using punctuation, and if at any point the author speaks directly to the reader in the text. All of these reasons reject the conventional style of writing and do things a little differently than normal. I believe that this makes the story more interesting to read and analyze. In the text there are many different sections which include metafictional influences.

One of these influences that Attwood incorporates is the lack of details in each of the sections of the story. She tells the reader what they need to know and nothing more. This is an example of Attwood being experimental and rejecting conventional writing. At the very beginning of the story, Attwood speaks directly to the reader when she says, “If you want a happy ending, try A. ” (Attwood, 53). This shows that section A is meant to be a happy ending but not necessarily a good ending. Most people think that a happy ending and a good ending are synonymous. Attwood would disagree with this statement.

Attwood finds a way to tell six different stories, using only two and a half pages, and using the same ending for each one. She tells the story, then at the end of each section she will say something like, “John marries Madge and everything continues as in A. ” This leads the reader to jump around in the story and always refer back to section A. Some authors put so much effort and emphasis into the endings, but not Attwood. She shows a kind of carelessness for endings and places her emphasis on the actual stories, though she doesn’t focus on the little details either.

Basically, she cuts out all of the minute details, and places little emphasis on the ending, in order to guide the reader to pay much more attention to the actual stories. These are all reasons that make “Happy Endings” metafictional. The last three paragraphs of the story are all Attwood speaking directly to the reader. She states… You’ll have to face it, the endings are the same however you slice it. Don’t be deluded by any other endings, they’re all fake, either deliberately fake, with malicious intent to deceive, or just motivated by excessive optimism if not by downright sentimentality.

The only authentic ending is the one provided here: John and Mary die. John and Mary die. John and Mary die. The fact that Attwood would take the opportunity to speak directly to the reader in this way shows many things about the story and the author. First and foremost, this is yet another reason that the story is metafictional. Also this shows how Attwood really does not think endings are the significant part of the story. In her opinion, you can get rid of those cheesy, “deliberately fake” endings and the little details and still have a great story.

Attwood doesn’t want the reader to look forward to what the ending is going to be while they are reading the story. The reader should be enjoying the story, not living for the ending. Attwood goes on to state how she feels about each part of the story. So much for endings. Beginnings are always more fun. True connoisseurs, however, are known to favor the stretch in between, since it’s the hardest to do anything with. This clearly states how she feels about each part of the story. I believe this seems as if she is rejecting the conventional style of writing by thinking like this and incorporating it into her writing.

This is yet another way the story is metafictional. Overall, I believe it is safe to say that “Happy Endings” by Margaret Attwood is a metafictional story. The story incorporates references from earlier in the text, guiding the reader to jump around, the author speaks directly to the reader, and the author clearly rejects the conventional writing style. These are a few of the many reasons that make this a metafictional text. And John and Mary continue their lives as in A, wait, I think I have read “Happy Endings” too many times.

Works Cited

  1. Attwood, Margaret. “Happy Endings. ” The Story and Its Writer. Ed. Ann Charters. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003. 54-56.
  2. Unknown. “A Story with a Happy Ending. ” Cartoon. Suth2. wordpress. com. N. p. , 5 Jan. 2012. Web. 20 Sept. 2012. <http://suth2. wordpress. com/2012/01/05/a-story-with-a-happy-ending/>.
  3. Woodson, Zach. “Literary Analysis: Happy Endings, by Margaret Atwood. ” Helium. Helium, 16 Mar. 2009. Web. 21 Sept. 2012. <http://www. helium. com/items/1378403-margaret-atwood-happy-endings>.

Security Breach In TJX Company

The TJX companies breach, which took place in January 2007, is considered the biggest data breach ever recorded in terms of security breaches. This incident served as a wake-up call for businesses by emphasizing the significance of implementing strong security measures (Dash, 2007). TJX, the parent company overseeing retail chains such as TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Homegoods, encountered a security system failure that enabled hackers to steal approximately 200 million customer records (Swann, 2007). The consequences of this breach led to damages valued at $4.8 billion (Swann, 2007).

Reports indicate that inadequate security measures led to a breach, endangering consumer data such as debit cards, credit cards, checking account information, and driver’s license numbers. The breach revealed three primary vulnerabilities: weak wireless network security, improper customer data storage procedures, and failure to encrypt customer account data. This breach occurred in two stages beginning in 2002 (Dash, 2007). In the initial phase alone, over 94 million individuals were impacted. The breach was executed via a wireless network and was relatively straightforward.

The attack, known as a protocol analyzer or sniffer attack (Gibson, 2012), involves running the analyzer to capture and save packets as a file for browsing later (Gibson, 2012). The TJX case investigation revealed non-compliance with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) data security standards established in 2004 by American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB, MasterCard Worldwide, and Visa International (Berg, Freeman, & Schneider, 2008).

The hackers utilized a telescope-like radio antenna in the parking lot of the store where the initial breach took place to intercept data. This enabled them to gain access to a wireless network that had inadequate security. The network was using a security protocol called wired equivalent privacy (WEP), which is not secure and easily accessible (Gibson, 2012). WEP has multiple security flaws and has since been replaced by more secure protocols like WPA and WPA2 (Gibson, 2012). In fact, researchers at Darmstadt Technical University in Germany successfully demonstrated that a WEP key can be broken in less than a minute (Berg, Freeman, & Schneider, 2008).

According to Berg, Freeman, & Schneider (2008), WEP does not meet industry standards that require the use of the stronger WPA protocol. The attackers first hacked into the store’s network and stole employees’ usernames and passwords. By using these credentials, they gained access to the main database at the corporate headquarters and created their own accounts within the employee database. Once they infiltrated the corporate network, they proceeded to breach security and collect credit card numbers and any desired customer information.

The TJX data breach occurred for approximately 18 months before TJX became aware of it. Reports indicate that the company’s data storage practices violated industry standards as they stored sensitive information, such as the full-track details, card-validation code (CVC) number, and personal identification number (PIN), which should not have been stored according to PCI Data Security Standard 3. Encrypting the data strongly could have prevented harm even if hackers gained access to inadequate customer records. It is clear that TJX did not comply with industry standards, particularly PCI Data Security Standard 3.4, which requires rendering the customer’s primary account number unreadable at a minimum. Additionally, PCI Data Security Standards 3.5 and 3.6 mandate protecting encryption keys used to safeguard customer data from disclosure or misuse by merchants. Gibson (2012) stresses the importance of safeguarding data from unauthorized users for maintaining confidentiality; however, in this case, there was a lack of protection. Although the organization authenticated their users internally, they failed to implement measures preventing intruders from accessing employees’ user IDs and passwords.

The use of a WEP wireless network connection did not provide protection against loss of confidentiality, granting intruders access to the system. The lack of integrity protection resulted in unauthorized modifications of data being undetected by TJX for years. The hackers were able to create their own IDs and passwords without the knowledge of the gatekeepers. The prevention of availability loss ensures that IT systems and data remain accessible as needed.

The data was available even when not needed, stored in an unencrypted format. Implementing advancements like encrypting customer data, securing the network, and regularly checking for vulnerabilities could have prevented this breach from recurring. Ultimately, the TJX companies’ lack of proper security measures caused dissatisfaction among customers and significant financial losses.

It is evident that the TJX companies were ill-prepared to handle such an event and neglected to take the necessary precautions to avoid it. The involvement of inexperienced employees responsible for network security contributed to this incident. External firms had previously alerted the TJX companies about the potential for a breach, but due to the inexperienced employees safeguarding their network, the warning was disregarded. If the TJX companies had complied with PCI standards and encrypted their data, the consequences of a system breach would have been significantly reduced or possibly eliminated.

Implementing security measures on all levels and educating employees could prevent reoccurrence. Additionally, testing for vulnerabilities would expose weak areas, helping to prevent reoccurrence.


Berg, G. G., Freeman, M. S., & Schneider, K. N. (2008). Analyzing the TJ Maxx Data Security Fiasco. CPA Journal, 78(8), pp. 34 – 37.

According to an article in the New York Times by Dash, E. (2007), a data breach at TJX could potentially impact millions of shoppers. The article can be found on page C. 9.

Gibson, D. (2012). Systems Security Certified Practitioner Exam Guide. McGraw-Hill.

Swann, J. (2007, April). Back From The Breach. Community Banker, 4, 34 – 38.

West African Dance

You may have heard of different types of dances but did you ever hear of the West African dance form? If you haven’t then we will tell you about, if you have then you will learn more about it. African dance refers mainly to the dance of Sub Saharan Africa, and more appropriately African dances because of the many cultural differences in musical and movement styles. These dances must be viewed in close connection with Sub Saharan African music traditions and Bantu cultivation of rhythm.

African dance utilizes the concept of polyrhythm as well as total body articulation yet many African languages have no word to define music. West African dance originated in the region known as West Africa which consist 18 countries. Dancing in West Africa communicate many different things such as feelings, attitudes, concepts and stories. The people of West Africa dance for anything and everything. Dance has always played a very important role in the lives of Africans.

Throughout history, West African dances have been influenced by and performed for everything including celebrating a birth, harvest or death. Traditional dances often do not appear in isolation but are parts of broader cultural activities such as Warrior Dances, Dances of Love, Rites of Passage and Coming of Age Dances, Dances of Welcome, Dances of Possession and Summoning. A Warrior Dance is a dance that takes place on occasion such as cultural events and funeral.

Dance movements mimic battlefield tactics such stabbing with the end of the horsetail. This dance consists of phrases of movements. A phrase consists of a “turn” which occurs in every phrase and then a different ending movement. These phrases are added back to back with slight variations within them, make up the dance. Dances of Love are performed on special accessions, such as weddings and anniversaries. Rites of Passage and Coming of Age is a dance performed to mark the coming of age of young men and women.

It is then formally acknowledged they are adults. This builds pride, as well as a stronger sense of community. A Dance of Welcome is a way to show of respect and pleasure to visitors, as well as a show of how talented & attractive the host villagers are. Dances of Possession and Summoning are common themes, and very important in many Traditional African Religions. They all share one common link: a call to a Spirit. These spirits can be the spirits of Plants or Forests, Ancestors, or Deities.