Margaret Atwood Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

How does Margaret Atwood convey the concept of belonging in her poem "The Immigrants"? (I need help with some techniques, too.)

Expert Answers info

Ester Baumgartner, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)

bookPh.D. from University of Miami (Fla.)


calendarEducator since 2016

write785 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Arts, and Law and Politics

Margaret Atwood's poem "The Immigrants" describes the ways immigrants to a new homeland attempt to "belong" to that new place, but the poem seems to indicate that immigration can lead the individual to feel he or she doesn't belong in either the old world or the new.

The poem begins with Atwood's discussion of how immigrants "are allowed to inherit" parts of the town or neighborhood they move to, but this only results in them being criticized, "only to be told they are too poor / to keep it up." The speaker also mentions death threats and laws made to make immigrants "obsolete." This is far from a warm welcome to the immigrant's new land.

Next, Atwood describes how the immigrant's perception of their native country changes as the immigrant emerges from the ship that brought them ashore. The speaker writes, "the old countries recede, become / perfect" as the immigrants step onto their new land. The immigrants preserve a romanticized picture of their homes, but as the speaker later...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 851 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write11,311 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Lynnette Wofford eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write7,057 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

check Approved by eNotes Editorial