- Margaret Atwood (Critical Survey of Poetry: British, Irish, & Commonwealth Poets)
- Margaret Atwood (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
- Margaret Atwood (Identities & Issues in Literature)
- Margaret Atwood (Critical Survey of Long Fiction, Fourth Edition)
- Margaret Atwood (Critical Survey of Short Fiction, Second Revised Edition)
At a glance:
- Author: Margaret Atwood
- First Published: 1995
- Type of Poem: Narrative
- Genres: Free verse, Poetry, Narrative poetry
- Subjects: United States or Americans, Folkloric or magical people, New England, Capital punishment, Seventeenth century, Witches or witchcraft
“Half-Hanged Mary” is a medium-length narrative poem in free verse that has ten sections, each containing one to five stanzas. In it, Atwood reconstructs the hanging of Mary Webster, a woman accused of witchcraft in Massachusetts in the 1680’s. Webster was hanged but did not die; thus the title of the poem.
The poem is written in the first person: Mary tells her own story. The ten sections of the poem are titled by time. The first, “7 p.m.,” tells of the hour in the evening when authorities come for Mary while she is milking the cows. Her crimes, she...
(The entire page is 1697 words.)
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