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Siren Song

Margaret Atwood

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Meaning
2005-01-19
Added by: Instant Karma
I have a different slant on the meaning of this wonderful poem.

She is debunking the sad myth of saving and being saved by your one and only soul mate -the person who is so "right" for you that he/she can save you.

I see Ulysses having himself tied to the mask (as advised by the wise witch Circe) as taking a stand for independance. He wanted to hear the song and yet hold to his course for home. The poet says why can't the thinking siren have the same pleasure and goal? Why is she trapped in luring men, how can she ever escape as Ulysses did?

There is a lot here to unravel in this gem of a poem based on a gem of a myth. The lessons go deep.
2005-02-04
Added by: Jewell
This poem is a cry for feminism but I feel like she is making the statement that this women, this overpowering precence of a female has the power to "trap" men/people and she knows hoe to use it. Look at the last line of the poem...she says "is is a boring song, but it works every time." The female figure in the poem realizes her strength and she uses that strength to crush people.
2005-02-11
Added by: smart guy
hey dumb dumbs. the sirens dont eat people. passing ships are lured to the siren's voices, and then the jagged rocks that surround the island sink the ships and drown the sailors. learn your mythology.
2005-03-13
Added by: Nicole
“Siren Song” is a wry twist on the old Greek myth of the half-woman, half-bird nymphs who lured sailors onto the rocks and death through their songs. In the poem, no one besides the sirens know the song because those who have heard it are either dead or they cannot remember. The speaker is a disgruntled siren who does not enjoy “squatting on this island/looking picturesque and mythical” (14-15) and singing with “these two feathery maniacs” (16). The siren reveals the fatal and infamous song is a “cry for help” (22). She admits it is a boring song, but “it works every time” (27). Atwood’s poem is a critique of the role of women in culture and how they are supposed to be weak, like a bird. She implies that every man cannot help himself from saving a damsel in distress and man’s pride is his downfall. The siren does not truly need help: she is independent, and is a siren only because that is her job.
2005-05-20
Added by: Janae
Althought I'm only a freshman in highschool I believe that anyone can see how clever Margaret Atwood's poetry is. I find her ability to change her identity at will in any of her pieces abosolutely amazing. It's as if she herself was the siren while she wrote. Not to long ago we discussed this poem in my English class. I was a bit annoyed when my peers judged the poem at first glance and didn't even notice that the siren was lying to lure men towards her.
Siren Song
2005-06-08
Added by: Jack Johnson
Atwood makes the antagonists in the poem as the Sirens, while the protagonists are the innocent sailors and men who try and battle the temptation of their song. It seems that one of the Sirens is having a change of heart and she feels as though she doesnt belong on the island with the other two. She wants to have a man for herself without killing him off with her song. the song is boring to her (says so in the last line) because it has a reptitious ending for her:death of anyone who hears their song. shes looking for an escape from this reptition and a way out from her monotonous life!
2005-09-21
Added by: Linda
i agree that Atwood once again has a feminist undertone in this poem. In my view she is opening questions to the role of women in relationships, in siren song the women is the dominant force which causes the relationship to fail. This notion of womens power is also evident in her novel The Handmaids Tale. If anyone notices other similarities between the two i would be interested.
feminist
2006-01-21
Added by: abs
Although some say that the poem was not intended to have a more profound meaning than exactly what was on paper, it is for certain that the author of this poem is definately a feminist. Most of her literature demonstrates feminist biases. Therefore my opinion is that the author intended to use this poem to demonstrate how much power women have over men. Especially when a women pleads for a heroic act.
little poem within an poem
2006-08-10
Added by: Neevil
i loved that quoted above ' to a guileless youth...'

where did it come from? who wrote it?

always loved the siren song. love the unambiguity of it - the relentless success of the song.

and how even success is soured when there is no chllenge.

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