Helen of Troy Does Countertop Dancing

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Teagan de Marigny
Due Date: 16 September 2011
English Literary Studies: ELL1016S
Tutor: Nicola Lazenby
Tut group 13
Assignment 2: Poetry
‘Helen of Troy Does Countertop Dancing’ – Margaret Atwood

‘Helen of Troy does Countertop Dancing’, by Margaret Atwood, deals with the refusal to agree to or obey with the idea that woman need to live a self-respected life and have a humble day job, which is pressured by society in order for woman to be ‘Ideal’. As well as Atwood’s writing on the oppressed female and her finding of power and control in everyday life. In this poem, there is an account of Feminist Resistance. Through observing the context, contents and form of the poem evidence of this resistance will be made clear.

Margaret Atwood is a Canadian poet who was born November 18, 1939. ‘Helen of Troy does Countertop Dancing’ is found in one of Atwood’s poetry books entitled, ‘Morning in the Burned House’ which was published in 1995. There are two distinct themes that are evident in this book. The first is the exploration of torture, particular to the torture of woman. This theme is made clear through the retelling of certain myths such as Helen of Troy. Many of her poems have been based and inspired on mythological figures as well as fairy tales. The second theme of the poems, in the book, is based on mortality and aging, which was a reaction towards her father’s death. However the theme of the torture of woman and the use of mythological figures will be what we will be dealing with in ‘Helen of Troy does Countertop Dancing’. Atwood uses a narrative approach in this poem. This creates a personal connection with the reader especially woman feminists. Helen of Troy was known as the most beautiful woman in the world. There have been many different stories about who her parents were and how she was conceived. However in Atwood’s poem it appears she chose the idea that Helen was the daughter of Greek God, Zeus, and Spartan Queen Leda. It has been...
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