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Comparison Essay Between Margaret Atwood's "This Is A Photograph Of Me" And "Morning In The Burned House"

904 words - 4 pages

Now You See Me, Now You Don'tIllusion is often mistaken for reality. Poet Margaret Atwood's poems, "This is a Photograph of Me" and "Morning in the Burned House" can be compared in terms of writing style, and theme. In "This is a Photograph of Me" Atwood writes using a combination of contrasting, irony, and symbolism, while in the poem "Morning in the Burned House" she uses irony, and symbolism in order to enhance the writing style and the exploration of the line dividing illusion and reality.Atwood uses many descriptive words near the beginning of the poem to describe the scenery in order to create a calm, peaceful mood. Consequently, just as the reader becomes comfortable with the setting and mood they experience a sudden shift in mood near the end, revealing a dead body lying beneath the surface of the lake. The use of contrasting effectively portrays the dead body in the lake by suddenly shifting the reader's emotion, but, more importantly, it effectively demonstrates the theme illusion versus reality because contrasting is used to show or emphasize differences between the two.Atwood has incorporated many examples of irony into this poem even in the title. Ironically, the title of the poem is "This is a Photograph of Me" however, the photograph is not of her, it is merely a photograph of a beautiful landscape. The poet writes, "I am in the lake, in the centre of the picture, just under the surface," which is ironic because although the narrator is in the photo she is concealed under the lake difficult to be seen which also contributes to the theme because if one were to look at this photo they must look closely at the lake to notice the dead body, even then they wouldn't know if it were an illusion or not. It is also ironic that the narrator talks about her death without feeling, with a "matter of fact" tone. Effective symbolism is used in order to create a close comparison between the surface of the water, and the photograph itself. Atwood employs the use of symbolism when she writes, "It is difficult to say where precisely, or to say how large or small I am." The narrator drowning is symbolic because one must look below the surface of the lake in order know what is real and what is an illusion, which is similar to the photograph itself because the photo does not show what is truly taking place. Lakes are often referred to as being very calm, and relaxing, in the poem the water is symbolic of this. However, it ironically becomes evident to the reader that beneath the...

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