Half-Hanged Mary Interpreting "Half Hanged Mary," by Margaret Atwood Quiz
by Margaret Atwood

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Interpreting "Half Hanged Mary," by Margaret Atwood Quiz

"Half Hanged Mary," by Margaret Atwood is set in a Puritan town in Massachusetts, circa 1680. After reading the poem, show your ability to understand its meaning by answering the questions in this quiz.

  • Question 1

    In the 8pm hour, it says that Mary understands why the women cannot help her. Why is it that they cannot or will help her?

  • Question 2

    In the 8pm section, there is a metaphor: "Up I go like a windfall in reverse". What do these words mean?

  • Question 3

    Mary struggles through the night but when the 8 am hour arrives what do the men find when they come to cut her down?

  • Question 4

    In the 10pm hour, who is Mary conversing with? What is the tone of this conversation?

  • Question 5

    Why is Mary hanged? Interpret the 7pm section of the poem to find out.

    I was hanged for living alone 
    for having blue eyes and a sunburned skin, 
    tattered skirts, few buttons, 
    a weedy farm in my own name, 
    and a surefire cure for warts;

  • Question 6

    In the 9pm section, we read,

    The bonnets come to stare, 
    the dark skirts also, 
    the upturned faces in between, 
    mouths closed so tight they're lipless. 
    I can see down into their eyeholes

  • Question 7

    In the 12 midnight section, Mary fights against this.

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