This Is a Photograph of Me

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Look Beneath the Surface

Shawna Jackson
English 100-001
Professor Susan Bauman
December 2nd, 2012

Margaret Atwood is a renowned feministic author who frequently writes about the struggles women are facing in today’s society. In the poem, “This is a Photograph of Me” Atwood reveals the mysterious identity of the speaker. Atwood uses nature in this poem to symbolize the power that the male gender have over women today. Even though while reading the poem we feel as though we are looking at a photograph, when really we have a poem describing what the photograph would look like, consider Atwood’s poem “This is a Photograph of Me” as an example open form poem because she uses the photograph to symbolize the speaker’s feelings of how she sees herself on the outside. Atwood uses irony through the title of the poem by leading us believe that she will reveal a photograph of the speaker. The irony of the title is that the photograph we are presented with in the poem is not just a single photograph of a person. It is a photograph of many different purposes, since the images of the photograph could have a deeper meaning to each individual who reads it. Atwood’s use of words like “smeared”, “blurred” and “blended”(3-5), are words that could be used when describing the look of a photograph. Instead Atwood uses these particular words to describe her feelings towards how she views herself on the outside. She wanted her reader’s to understand how she was feeling, even though the use of these words may have not become clear to her meaning right away. After reading this poem a few times, the meaning of theses words will make the reader feel as though Atwood’s character in this poem felt as though she feels a loss of her identity, confused and unfocused. At the same time the reader may also think that Atwood wanted her character to been seen as not recognizable, as though she is getting old by using words like she has to describe the look and...
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