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This Is A Photograph Of Me

Margaret Atwood

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Added by: Victor Hugo
Note that the lake is introduced on line 13. The poet is quite literally in the middle of the poem, as she tells us she is. Atwood is telling us that poetry is like photography ("blurred lines and grey flecks / blended with the paper") in its ability to capture the essence of a person, and perhaps like this particular photograph in the way the real meaning lies buried beneath the surface.

Added by: Sam
The poem is an invitation to the reader to reassess the perception of where precisely the voice of the author is coming from.
It is a game.
Much like hide and seek.
Find me.
I dare you to....
Added by: Devin
Margaret wants the poem to be mysterious so that we have to look under the surface to find the true meaning of her death and the meaning of the poem.
Added by: shelly
The picture which is developing in the poem parallels the speakers realization of there own physical state.
Added by: Leah
Could this poem be about what the speaker percieves as women's place in society? Women represented by small frame house, the fuzzy idealized setting, what "ought to be" a gentle slope, the low hills. Her place in society relgated to the background (draw the picture of the first half of the poem its all background).

The speaker is there but just under the surface, not clear, not of any place or time. She is further de-emphasized by the brackets of the last half.

The picture is revealed in layers. She is hidden amongst the layers. We are instructed to look long enough so that we can see her. Are those layers of stereotype that we must see through?

The shocking violence of her position, of realizing the speaker is dead - is undercut by the brackets. Its said as if it is an aside. As if who she is is not important.

I'm rambling but someone could make something of it.

Questions: Who took the picture? What of her has died? "The effect of water / on light is a distortion" - is she the light? Is it her light that has been pushed under by society? Hmmmm.
This is a Photograph of me
Added by: Colton
Did anyone consider actually analyzing the poem? The branch as a connection to family, the house being society, the slope that ought to be easy is the challenge, lake being the origin of her life, the water that distorts the light and the light itself the could be considered as something sacred? Maybe Atwood is trying to say that she couldn't beat the challenge (slope) to make into society (house). She can see that her family (tree) is reaching out to help her get out of her origin (lake, meaning she could be the exact same as she was when she was young) but slightly distorted by goodness and God (light).
All you have to do is change the image into a symbol and you get answers.
Added by: rachel martin
changing an image into a symbol doesn't provide me with any answers. Personally i could picture a young woman looking at the scene of her own death on the frontpage of a newspaper. The fact that the revelation of her death is almost said as an aside makes the poem all the more tragic as it indicates that even after her own death she still doesn't see how her life has made an impact on anything. The perfect natural surroundings remain undisturbed by her drowning, and even after her death she remains under the surface
Added by: Lisa
Atwood changes the position of the lake between the 13th line and the 17-18th lines as she describes the lake as "In the background there is a lake" yet later describes it as "in the centre of the picture". I think this is because the lake is portrayed as irrelevant in the first half but Atwood wishes to draw our attention to the lake in the second half and does so by rearranging it's position to the centre and main focal point of the photograph.

I am studying this poem for higher english and would welcome any further views on it greatly. Thank you.
Added by: Rayna
Whoa, Colton! Don't you "over-analyze" things just a tad? I realize you're trying to sound really thoughtful and deep...but coome on! Do any of the above people just think that the poet was trying to get a simple message across as oppose to every little word having a second meaning? True beauty of poetry is understanding where the poet is coming from...why complicate things?
Added by: Sonya
Here is a tip from someone who is a Margaret Atwood fanatic. Atwood is obsessed with examining the facades women put on to succeed in society. Examples of this can be found noticably in THE BLIND ASSASSIN, THE HANDMAID'S TALE, "Waiting" and of course "This is a photograph of me" as well as several other of her books, short stories and poems.

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