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Reveal the Journey in This is a photograph of me Margaret Atwood.

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Reveal the Journey in ‘This is a photograph of me’

Margaret Atwood. Laconic and mysterious. A Canadian writer who embodies the concepts of a confessional poet. ‘This is a photograph of me’ evokes pathological readers to emphasise on their ideas, and again is accumulative with intertextuality to ‘Journey to the Interior’

The persona is divided into two types of writings, ambiguous and assertive. Her assertions and our ambiguity lead us to see through her pain. Atwood muddles our thinking through ambiguity, and corrects out thinking through assertiveness. ‘You can see something’ ambiguity is portrayed. You can see something… but what are we looking at and what is it? ‘Like a branch’ what sort of branch? What colour? How big? These ambiguous techniques cause confusion and uncertainty. The third stanza sentences combined together create assertion. She is being direct. ‘I am in the lake, in the centre of the picture, just under the surface’ Atwood says exactly were she is, where she is – certainty.

Atwood is a post-modernist writer of our time, who uses modernist techniques such as free verse and open-ended metaphors. Open-ended metaphors occur throughout the persona. Is she trying to reveal her identity through the persona? Did she really drown in the lake and live the spirit world? These examples makes the reader un-secure, of which metaphor is could be. There can be many interpretations to the real meaning.

What I interpreted from ‘This is a photograph of me’ is Atwood might have experienced a frightening moment in her life such as rape or sexual assault. Hence the fact that she says ‘That photograph was taken the day after I drowned, I am in the centre of the picture’. Could this mean that she is the middle of no-were, no-one can help her, no-one can save her from the drowning and suffocation of pain? Concepts of existentialism arise here. Does Atwood really think that the world is a dark and meaningless gigantic place?

Atwood involves the reader in the poem, and makes you feel that you have a relationship with the poem. This is the effect of first person point of view. ‘I am in the lake, in the centre’

Atwood’s poems harass the reader, she is very seductive, and is able to seduce some-one whom dislikes her. ‘This is a photograph of me’ is an accumulative poem, and uses extended metaphors for the purpose that the reader questions their ambiguity. The journey is conveyed through assertions and ambiguity, which leads us to see her pain and her story of a journey.

Carolina Silva

Mr Grguric


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