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.
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.