In “The City Planners” by Margaret Atwood and “The Planners” by Boey Kim Cheng, both poets build on the theme of not only sameness but the blandness of modern urban or suburban living which insulates man from the randomness and challenges of living in daily contact with the natural world. Each poet uses their own unique way to express these themes. In “The City Planners” Atwood employs strong imagery such as “the houses in pedantic rows” while in “The Planners” Boey adopts an extended metaphor on mathematics and applied sciences.
The poet of “The City Planners”, Margaret Atwood was born and raised in the city of Ottawa, Canada. She was born in 1939 and therefore has seen the development of the city. Atwood finds the identical houses of suburbia offending to the eye. There is absolutely nothing unique to the houses and they all look similar. Boey Kim Cheng, the poet of “The Planners” however, was born in 1965 and grew up in Singapore, a place of rapid development. Boey uses plenty of extended metaphors to express his opinions on the creations of the “Planners”.
Both title elements of the poems contain the definitive article “The”. This word suggests importance and a solitary, power group which controls everything. The group then directs us to believe that the poems are going to be about sameness and uncreativeness. This point is consolidated by the element “Planners”. This suggests control, organization and forward thinking again linking to the main themes and ideas.
Atwood beings the poem with two long stanzas, moving on to brief stanzas which foretell the future that could befall the housing estates. The regular structure also reinforces the idea of sameness and the blandness of the “City Planners” as they attempt to control nature and make everything “perfect”. Boey Kim Cheng also adopts a similar structure, with the first stanza being nine lines, second being fourteen and the third being four. This again strengthens the general themes and ideas of...
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