The City Planner

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How does Margaret Atwood communicate her ideas to the readers? Consider:

Atwood opens the poem by painting a picture-perfect and rather unrealistic and pretentiously beautiful Canadian suburbia. It was obvious, as readers can tell, that Atwood was irritated by the unnatural uniformness of the suburbia. Atwood collectively refers to the suburbia as “the sanities”. While many may think being sane is a good thing (as opposed to being insane), the writer may have opined otherwise. Being sane does not necessarily means that one is normal. Instead, it signals a lack of uniqueness and originality. By saying this, Atwood has essentially undermined and belittled the entire suburbia by saying that they possess no exciting qualities. This point is clearly demonstrated through her observations of the neighbourhood—a neighbourhood where there isn’t a single shout or shatter of glass, where even the grass are discouraged, and where the most disruptive commotion you can find is the occasional “rational whine” of a lawn mower.

The sanity of this neighbourhood doesn’t just stop at the uneventful daily routines. Atwood is evidently disturbed at how tidy and orderly everything is. Houses are described not just as “in rows”, but in “pedantic rows”, the adjective being derived from “pedant”, a person who is excessively bothered with minor details and flaws. This carries a very strong meaning, and it is clear that Atwood wishes to convey clearly to the reader that this is no ordinary suburb. Alternatively, this might just be a mocking exaggeration, which Atwood could have used to satirise how ridiculous she thinks the neighbourhood is. Her dislike for uniformness is understandable. As an environmental activist, it is only logical that she would advocate for nature to be let alone and go its own way. The sight of forcing a tree to grow in a manicured fashion would no doubt enrage her.

Atwood continues her list of complaints to prove how this pretentious beauty, no matter...
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