An analysis of the poems of Margaret Atwood.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This is rather a broad question to answer as you haven't really identified any poems specifically to respond to or if there are certain issues that you would like us to focus on. I have included some links below to the enotes section of various sites that will give you more information about Atwood as a poet and the kind of themes that she writes about, so I hope that this will help you.

However, I thought it would be good as well to talk about one of her poems that I really enjoy, entitled "Siren Song." This is a great poem that picks up on the mythological sirens, whose song is so irresistible that they tempt men to jump out of their ships to join them even though they perish in the effort. What is great about this poem is the way that the speaker, often ironic about being in her "bird-suit" and not enjoying "looking picturesque and mythical" exerts precisely the same kind of alluring voice and temptation that makes her so successful at killing so many. She draws us in as a reader, making us entranced by her voice, until we too metaphorically jump in to the waters and perish as we are made to believe that we can help and save her and that we are "unique." The sudden, abrupt ending makes it clear the trick that the speaker has played on us:

it is a boring song
but it works every time.

We have fallen into precisely the same trap as everybody else, even though we knew about the danger.


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