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Poem Analysis : Spelling by Margaret Atwood

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Poem Analysis : Spelling by Margaret Atwood

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Jeffrey Chen
Mrs. Mekhala
MYP Year 5 Language Arts
April 3, 2013
Poem Analysis on “Spelling”
Margaret Atwood’s Spelling is a sophisticated and emotional poem. Like much of Atwood’s poetry, it has one central objective deeply rooted in her feminist beliefs. She aims firstly at the women in history by expressing the horrors of the low social status of women and how they were tortured in war; then she explains that education is what gives women the power to stand up for themselves and fight for freedom and convinces more people to start receiving education. She denies the ideas of “housewives” and “daughters” and explains it is what keeps the female gender weak throughout history. Atwood convinces the readers to abduct this old view of females and understand the importance of education. She does this through appalling sensual images, attitude shifts and connotations to the reader and describes a volcano eruption with clear sensory language, making this poem one of the most powerful poem in history.

The shocking impression Atwood uses to portray the tormented women in history is given more strength by the remarkable range of poetic devices and sensual languages she uses, including metaphor, choice of diction and sensual appeals. These devices add power to the poem and its effect on the reader by producing and emphasizing the impression Atwood wanted: of a female in history burnt in the stalks with leather stuffed in her mouth because of wizardry, or a female prisoner of war tortured and killed with no ability to speak or fight for herself. Atwood collaborates a wide range of words to express her impression on feminist ideas. She opens with her daughter trying to learn how to spell. This child is most likely going to receive education, but she is too young and does not realize that. The poet then mentions “red, blue and hard yellow,” these are primary colors, which are colors that can recombine to any color that exists. Just as a few simple letters could...