Atwood poem analysis

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“It is Dangerous To Read Newspapers” by Margaret Atwood

Duality is a key concept in many of Margaret Atwood’s works. “It Is Dangerous To Read Newspapers” comes with no surprise when the juxtaposition of time eras are presented. The poem addresses the atrocities of the Vietnam War that occurred from 1959-1975. The work is focused on the adult perception of the war by the speaker. The 9 stanzas that structure the poem are a continuous construction of the horror elements creating an overall image of the war and the inability of the speaker to participate in it, in any shape or form. Atwood uses the juxtaposition of childhood and adulthood, furthermore she uses diction connoting violence and destruction to convey the powerlessness of humans over a situation that was caused by them.

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Firstly, Atwood employs a common technique, that of duality within the poem by strongly juxtaposing opposing views. For instance, the first two stanzas refer to childhood. This is indicated by the use of past tense, and reference to childhood games such as “stepping on the cracks”. The connotation of childhood is ignorance and innocence although that innocence is corrupted with the last two lines of the first stanza in which the speaker mentions that the “hasty pits were filling with bulldozed corpses”. The use of such harsh terms are employed by the child because that information was obtained from ...

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