Narrator and point of view


The short story “Time capsule found on the dead planet” by Margaret Atwood is narrated by a first-person narrator who adopts the first-person plural perspective of the collective character of humanity. This perspective helps readers understand that humanity is solely responsible for the events described in the time capsule. 

Throughout the story, the collective “we” refers to humanity’s actions, which take a devastating course after the creation of money:

We could not eat this money, wear it or burn it for warmth; but as if by magic it could be changed into such things. The money was mysterious, and we were in awe of it. If you had enough of it, it was said, you would be able to fly. 

While the first two ages of mankind are seen as consequences of humanity’s actions – “we created gods”, “we created money”– the third age brings a change. The collective “we” is no longer in control, and becomes dominated by “it” – money: 

It began to talk. It began to create on its own. It created feasts and famines, songs of joy, lamentations. It created greed and hunger, which were its two faces. (…) It began to eat things. It ate whole forests, croplands and the lives of children. It ate armies, ships...

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