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Margaret Atwood by Ashley Czepa

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 10 months ago

     Image:Atwood.jpg

Margaret Atwood November 18, 1939

 

Born in Ottawa, Ontario.  Margaret started writing at the age of five.  She graduated from the University of Toronto in 1961 and did

 

graduate work at Radcliffe and Harvard.  Margaret's first collection of poetry was "The Circle Game" in 1966.  Margaret Atwood was

 

a dedicated feminist and did a lot of exploring of complex relations between sexes.  All of her stories are fiction and they talk

 

about relationship dynamics and the way man and women behave in romantic settings.  She addresses topics of female supression

 

in correlation with male domination and individual dynamics. She also touches on some femaleroles dominatingover the male roles like

 

in one of her poems, Siren Song.  Most of Margaret Atwood's poetry is criptic and thickly layered with themes of emotion and narrative

 

voices.  The reader can usually feel her poems and the emotion she has put into them. Margaret Atwood's work covers many genres

 

from poetry to novels, children books to short fiction, and Antologies to drawings.  She is a very diverse and intellegent artist.

 

 

 

 

 

Siren Song

 

 

                                                                                                This is the one song everyone

                                                                                                would like to learn: the song

                                                                                                that is irresistable:

 

                                                                                                the song that forces men

                                                                                                to leap overboard in squadrons

                                                                                                even though they see the beached skulls

 

                                                                                                the song nobody knows

                                                                                                because anyone who has heard it

                                                                                                is dead, and the others can't remember

 

                                                                                                Shall I tell you the secret

                                                                                                and if I do, will you get me

                                                                                                out of this bird suit?

 

                                                                                                I don't enjoy it here

                                                                                                squatting on this island

                                                                                                looking picturesque and mythical

 

                                                                                                with these two feathery maniacs,

                                                                                                I don't enjoy singing

                                                                                                this trio, fatal and valuable.

 

                                                                                                I will tell the secret to you,

                                                                                                to you, only to you.

                                                                                                Come closer. This song

 

                                                                                                is a cry for help: Help me!

                                                                                                Only you, only you can,

                                                                                                you are unique

 

 

                                                                                                At last. Alas

                                                                                                it is a boring song

                                                                                                but it works every time.

 

 

Siren Song is a poem about greek mythology and Margaret Atwood;s personal relationships with men.  Greek mythology explains the Sirens 

 

as three sisters that where exiled to an island, they are half women and half monster.  They stand on cliffs and echo their haunting song

 

across the sea, a song that is irresistable to men.  After a man has been attracted to the island the Sirens kill and than eat him.  If a man

 

got past the Siren and was not murdered than he was considered to be a hero and thought to be very desirable.

 

Margaret Atwood turns this "myth" around and tells it from her point of view, the Siren.  She feels like known of her lovers have gotten past the

 

song they may be attracted to the song but they never stay very long, they do not rescue her from herself, from her song.  Margaret does not see

 

them as heros, they are not desirable or worthy of her love.

 

It seems as though she views men as having a compulsion to be the hero and "save" women, this is the cause of their own destuction when it

 

comes to the Siren's "but it works every time."  It's mans desire to be unique and heroic.

 

 

 

Picture of
Margaret Atwood

 

 

                                                    You Begin

 

You begin this way:

this is your hand,

this is your eye,

this is a fish, blue and flat

on the paper, almost

the shape of an eye

This is your mouth, this is an O

or a moon, whichever

you like.  This is yellow.

 

Outside the window

is the rain, green

because it is summer, and beyond that

the trees and then the world,

which is round and has only

the colors of these nine crayons.

 

This is the world, which is fuller

and more difficult to learn than I have said.

You are right to smudge it that way

with the red and then

the orange: the world burns.

 

Once you have learned these words

you will learn that there are more

words than you can ever learn.

The word hand floats above your hand

like a small cloud over a lake.

The word hand anchors

your hand to this table

your hand is a warm stone

I hold between two words.

 

This is your hand, these are my hands, this is the world,

which is round but not flat and has more colors

than we can see.

It begins, it has an end,

this is what you will

come back to, this is your hand.

 

 

This poem is about childhood and how you begin life, how you see things as a child (colors and animals) like listing all the colors in a box

 

of crayons.  Beyond the summer and playing is the real world, a world more difficult and more complex than that of a play ground and imaginary

 

friends.  As you grow older you move on and discover new, more in depth things and the feeling that you journey has no end.  As children you are

 

young and naive, believe everything you are told by adults and people you trust.  In the end you are left to find out the hard way how hard life is,

 

how complex and disappointing life can be.  You face the evils of the world and experience hardships.  Margaret says that it is ok to be bitter and

 

it's ok to smudge all the colors because you were mislead as a child.  We can do somwhere else in our minds and remember the distant memories,

 

the innocent times, and all the beuatiful colors before they all turned black in our minds.

 

 

 

 

Workd Cited

www.poets.org

www.wikipedia.org/wiki/siren/margaretatwood

www.library.utoranto.ca/canpoetry/atwood

Literature, in introduction to fiction, poetry, drama, and writing

fifth edition textbook.

X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia  (2007)

Comments (5)

Anonymous said

at 9:25 am on May 10, 2007

I enjoyed the poems, and I find it funny how so many poets write about their love life in a poem.

Anonymous said

at 9:32 am on May 10, 2007

In the poem "Siren Song," the second stanza reminded me of D-Day when men stormed the beaches of Normandy even though dead men layed all around them.

Anonymous said

at 9:39 am on May 10, 2007

Good page, I really enjoyed reading the Siren Song it is a good poem and reminds me of D-Day also.

Anonymous said

at 9:44 am on May 10, 2007

I couldn't agree more with your inteprentation of the second poem very well don. I also liked how you added pictures to each poem to add to the effect of the words. It also however gave a strong first impression and thought that the second picture could have beeen something else. Good job!

Anonymous said

at 9:48 am on May 10, 2007

I would have never know that Siren Song was about Greek mythology. The analysis really helps to understand this poem.

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