True North, by Margaret Atwood Summary

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Margaret Atwood, in her short essay “True North,” wants her readers to come away after reading her essay understanding that things have drastically changed from how they used to be and how they are now. Atwood begins to capture her audience’s attention first by reminiscing and recalling her childhood memories of how it used to be in the “old days” in “The North.” “The North,” as she refers to it in her essay, is more commonly known to us as Canada. Atwood then refers to the United States as “The South.” She begins to describe to her audience of how her childhood summers began with traveling through to “the north”, from “the south.” As she recalls her travels she precisely depicts the vastness of how Canada once was a more barren realm inhabited by people with far different views and lifestyles than those of American citizens. Atwood is brought to this mindset of dwelling upon her past because of her current job as a teacher in a college located in Alabama, where she was teaching, ironically enough, Canadian Literature. She rambles through her memories as if they were yesterday and she remembers the various entry points that could be used to enter into Canada and the many small, one industry dependent, folksy, towns she would go through once in Canada. Atwood then goes on to tell the reader about the times when she would take her kids to Canada and they would stay and swim in the lake when there were no boats zooming by in the water and gawk at supposedly “old” trinkets. One of the things that her children marvel over is an old metal icebox. This makes Margaret begin to think about the other things that they used to believe were brand new wonders of their day. As soon as she reflects on this thought she has a revelation. Everything from when she was a young child is now, in fact, changed and has become “old” and she wonders what the future generations will look back on from her present time and classify as some old artifact of amazement from back in the day. She...
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