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Variations on the Word Love by Margarett Atwood - Critical Analysis

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"Variations on the Word Love" by Margaret Atwood The poem "Variations on the Word Love" by Margaret Atwood describes the wide range of different types of love. Each is uniquely different as described by the poet. The poet is saying that love shouldn't be just a "word we use to plug up holes with." Atwood divides her poem into two concrete sections, which in turn represent two different ways of looking at the word love. The first stanza is dedicated to expressing love as a word and the second focuses on love as a feeling. There is a drastic change in Atwood's tone between the two stanzas; in the first stanza, her attitude about love is expressed quite bitterly. ...read more.


In these lines, Atwood expresses that love has lost all of its meaning because it has been misrepresented and exploited. Although Atwood's attitude towards love appears bitter in the first stanza, this completely changes at the start of the second stanza when she says, "Then there's the two of us. This word is far too short for us, it has only four letters." When reading this line, the reader clearly understands that Atwood's bitterness is not towards love, but the misinterpretation of it by the people. Atwood describes love as a "single vowel in this metallic silence." ...read more.


As stated in the appropriate title, love has many variations. These variations do not allow love to be presented easily or accurately by one simple definition. Her line breaks are irregular, making the poem unpredictable, which is another characteristic of love; furthermore, the absence of rhyme in a poem about love challenges preconceptions of how love should be expressed. Throughout "Variations on the Word Love," Atwood explores the topic of love in terms of connotation versus denotation. As a word, love has become so altered that it has lost significance. Therefore, as a feeling, love is too deep and intimate to be represented by such a short word. Her drastic change in diction and attitude further show that love has many different sides and can be viewed from different perspectives. ...read more.

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