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How can you recognise an Atwood poem?

I’ve been really dreading this post. Not because I feel I haven’t understood what’s been said in class, but because I’ve already wrote it out once and lost all of my work. After that, I sulked for a few days. So, here it is, attempt 2. I wish you could’ve seen my first, instead of the second one which isn’t as great. 

The first thing I noticed from the three Atwood poems is she uses Enjambment throughout them all.

“…Which means

everyone else”

There are a lots of reasons to why a poet uses enjambment, but for these poems in particular I feel it’s been used to highlight that the problem goes on and on – it doesn’t stop. Another theory is that the lack of a proper stop, a full stop, forces the reader to continue thinking about the topic all through the stanza. Lastly, the technique quickens the pace, making it more intense and the message more harsh. When comparing Atwood to other poets, I don’t feel other poets can capture the intensity as much as Atwood. I feel her use of Enjambment is unique to her, and therefore makes identifying her work easier. 

Secondly, Atwood constantly refers to ‘Women’, ‘Her’, ‘Mother’. She never names the victims.

“She looks at the ceiling”

She leaves it open for interpretation, meaning you can imagine yourself in “her” shoes, and it’s more effective than giving names and referring to a particular person. This technique also highlights that it could be anyone, not just yourself. It shows how it could happen to any woman, and how many women it’s happened to.

Atwood is very direct to the reader, she doesn’t skirt around the truth. She openly talks about emotive issues, such as rape, abortion and suicide. She might do show to some people it is matter of fact – they were raped and they can’t change that, so there’s no point softening it to anything else. It’s also apparent she’s forcing the reader to face what’s happened, to not ignore it, like many people do. She breaks the norm of talking about those topics in hushed tones. This is different to most poets, as Atwood is very harsh and doesn’t use metaphors to describe more brutal scenes, but tells it like it is. Furthermore, this also creates brutal, and powerful, imagery. Another technique Atwood manages to use to her advantage.

Lastly, Atwood comes across as very bitter towards men as a whole, no particular man. Again, she never names the men, showing any man is capable. She generalises all men as rapists, probably to make the male audience feel guilty and prove themselves otherwise. Similarly, she could also be blaming men for letting such things happen, for doing nothing to stop it. Her personal views towards men come out a lot throughout her poetry and she is very convincing in the way she uses techniques to get her message across.

To summarise, I can identify an Atwood poem because of her unique mix of techniques and how she uses them to help her get her point across.

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Oscar Wilde

Defining Margaret Atwood…

This was a great analysis, I thought!

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Today I read three Margaret Atwood poems, ‘Spelling’, ‘Christmas Carols’ and ‘A Woman’s Issue’.
These three poems all have the same overall theme, mistreatment of women and rape in war. Aswell as this they all use similar features (not surprising as they’re all written by the same writer).

The titles are used cleverly in all three poems. The use of the word “Issue” in the title ‘A Woman’s Issue’ is a homonym, the phrase ‘a woman’s issue’ in medieval times was used to mean a woman’s time of the month, but the word ‘issue’ means a problem. This automatically makes the reader assume that the fact that women get pregnant is a problem.

The title ‘Christmas Carols’ has connotations with festive times and joy, though the poem is much more serious. Throughout the poem there are references to Christmas, and the constant reminder that children are not always…

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I’m also VERY sorry if I’ve not followed you and you’re in my class. I’m not being ignorant, I just can’t find a lot of your blogs. 😦

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Carys-Anne Evans

Firstly, as a sort of disclaimer, I did get two As in GCSE in 2012. HOWEVER, I must warn you my English may be a little rusty due to not doing so much writing for a while. My punctuation sucks, sorry to my new English teacher. 

I’m Carys-Anne Evans, I’m 17 years old. I love to write, although have neglected it recently. My favourite kinds of stories are that of an emotive nature, something real and raw. My favourite book is The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. Although, I don’t know what I could say, or what words I could use that could justify this book. As much as I try to explain why I love it so much, I fail. I could start by telling you how realistic it is, how it’s not dressed up as ‘ill girl miraculously recovers’, but it’s real, people fall ill, people are lost and you find your heart breaking into little pieces over and over again – as I said, my words are in vain, nothing can really demonstrate the fear, pain and the way your heart aches for the protagonist, Hazel’s, health without reading it for yourself.

You grow to love characters, I feel. I believe a good author can make you fall in love with a character, make you hate their enemies as much as they do; make you worry about their problems; make you dread the exam tomorrow that your character has to take. A good author pulls you into his/her world with you, and makes the rest of the world melt away. The reason I love Green so much is due to his ability to capture the reader, to mesmerise them with his words, and to make you live the story he writes alongside the character. Furthermore, not only can he create the most perfect human – not perfect; flawed; human. He creates a best friend for you, and for those few hours you’re reading, you feel closer to Hazel than you possibly ever could with a friend. You know her secrets, her thoughts, her worries, her illness. I think that is why her ill-health is so devastating, it’s like losing a piece of you. 

In contrast, I promise it’s not all doom and gloom. There are parts which have made me cry with happiness for Hazel, parts where my heart beats faster when she’s with Augustus. It truly is an emotional roller-coaster.

I find parts of TFiOS stays with me in my darkest times, and for me, that is special.

I’m sorry this review wasn’t as good as it could be… I didn’t want to spoil too much.

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”

– Carys

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