Figurative Language In Margaret Atwood's Poem 'You Begin'

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In the poem “You Begin” by Margaret Atwood, the speaker explains to the reader the importance of language and creating meaning through association. Through the use of figurative language such as metaphors and similes, repetition, and the presence of boundaries, the speaker presents the idea that the world may be perceived as wide and complicated, but the use of language and association can create new meaning in one’s life. The are two instances in the poem in which figurative language is used. The first instance is found in the fourth stanza, which says “The word hand floats above your hand like a small cloud over a lake.” This line is describing how life is cyclical and continuous, and this represents the interdependence for one’s existence, …show more content…
At the beginning, the child is taught simplistic ideas, such as “that is a fish blue and flat,” and “the world...has only the colors of these nine crayons.” These two ideas present a narrow and false perspective on the world, but it is easier for a child to understand, which is why the child is taught in such a limited manner. However, as the child gets older and gains more life experiences, he or she starts to realize that the world is more complex than it was during childhood. The speaker says at the end of the poem “this is the world, which is round but not flat and has more colors than we can see.” The speaker confirms that the world is extremely broad, and that in order to decrease its complexity, one needs to make associations that help that person to create meaning and understand the world better. The poem “You Begin” by Margaret Atwood successfully helps the reader understand the complexity of the world by implying that language and association is important for one to understand life. Through the use of figurative language, repetition, and explanation of boundaries, the speaker informs the reader that the complications of the world can be eased by creating meaning through language and

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