Commentary Margaret Atwood

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The poem titled ‘Variations on the Word Love’ by Margaret Atwood touches on and briefly discusses uses of the word love. The word love has many different interpretations, describing ones personal feelings, and at the same time has been overused by the media as a marketing tool. In today’s society the word love is highly overused and can have many different interpretations. In this poem Atwood explores these meanings and different interpretations of the word ‘love’ and expresses them through theme, the structure of the poem, imagery and symbolism.

The poem can be split into two parts, and from there divided into more subdivisions. The first half of the poem expresses and explores love in its superficial usage, more of an ironic and general term portrayed falsely by the media. The second half of the poem is of a personal more ‘meaningful’ usage that develops into

Symbolism is one of the main literary tools Atwood uses to express and explore the many meanings of ‘love’. The poem begins with Atwood describing love as “a word we use to plug holes with.” Later in the poem she touches on this idea of ‘plugging holes’ when she says, “…too sparse to fill those deep bare vacuums between the stars.” The term plugging holes symbolizes plugging a gap in a sentence or in any situation by expressing personal feelings of love. As love has many different interpretations ‘plugging holes’ can also have different interpretations, for some one it could mean plugging a hole in something has insignificant as a sentence by saying ‘I love you’ or for some people it could have a much more extreme meaning such as plugging a hole in their life that cannot be filled with anything but the love and companionship of a partner.
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