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Margaret Atwood

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Erin Gerstenkorn

on 6 November 2013

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Transcript of Margaret Atwood

By; Erica Costa & Erin Gerstenkorn
Margaret Atwood
Author's Work
The Governor General's Award is presented by the Governor General of Canada, recognizing various people in a number of academic, artistic and social fields. Governor Generals present the award for whichever category they personally find important.
Governor General's Award
Genres& Themes
Margaret Atwood is a revolutionary Canadian author. She is an expert at what she does and has influenced many authors after her. Her specialties include her main themes women in society and civilization& wilderness. She displays and educates great awareness on these topics in her works and she is remarkable at showing her opinions within her writings. This is proven in the overwhelming amount of awards she has received. Atwood is a true literary professional, who many people are inspired by and look up to. She continues to amaze readers and other authors, and keeps coming out with insightful and more in depth work. Her work has and will continue to go down in history as some of the best Canadian literature of all time.
Topics of Discussion
Margaret Atwood's genres are
connected to global and personal politics
Themes include:
- civilization vs wilderness
Civilization vs Wilderness
Novels which portray technology vs nature conflicts:
Women's Roles in Society
The Edible Women (1969) - women's alienation
Power Politics- refuge for weak women against male force
The Journals of Susanna Moodie (1970) - Canadian history from the perspective of a pioneer woman
Dynamics of our economic and social structures
Payback- Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth (2008)
Surfacing (1972)

Oryx and Crake
The Governor General's Literary Awards have become one of Canada's most prestigious prizes. The award is given in both French and English in seven categories: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, children's literature (one for text and for illustration), and translation.
Why Margaret Atwood?
Biography of Margaret Atwood
Margaret's Works
Governor General's Award
- What it is
- Why Margaret received it
Genres and themes Margaret conveys
How her themes relate to today's literature
"The Circle Game, i"
The children on the lawn
joined hand to hand
go round and round

each arm going into
the next arm, around
full circle until it comes
back into each of the
single bodies again

They are singing, but not
to each other; their feet
move almost in time
to the singing

We can see the
concentration on
their faces, their eyes
fixed on the empty
moving spaces just in
front of them.
We might mistake this
tranced moving for joy
but there is no joy in it

We can see (arm in arm)
as we watch them go
round and round
intent, almost
studious (the grass
underfoot ignored, the trees
circling the lawn
ignored, the lake ignored)
that the whole point for them of going round and round is (faster slower)
going round and round
"Flying Inside Your Own Body"
Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic,
professor and environmental activist

In this sonnet like poem Margaret Atwood introduces us in the beginning to the sensation of flying. The language displays the feeling of lightness. Atwood reminds us that we can fly only in our dreams. She allows us to venture into an exhilarating dream to be free at first, and then she presents us with the frustrations of reality and how unadventurous it can be.
Margaret's Beginnings
What Margaret's been doing recently
- Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa, Ontario on November, 8th 1939.
- She was the second of three children, her parents Carl Edmunnd Atwood and Margaret Dorothy Killiam, were well off and provided Margaret with a good and secure childhood.
- Due to her fathers profession as a zoologist, the family was forced to move around Ontario. Atwood did not attend full time school until she was in the seventh grade.
- As a young child Margaret had always been interested in reading. She could be found reading anything from, fairytales to mysteries to comic books.
Northern Quebec, 1942. Margaret watches her father Carl Atwood making kindle for a fire. (http://www.margaretatwood.ca/photos.php)
- After her desire to become an author and professional writer, Atwood took her ambitions and made them into reality at the young age of sixteen.
- She was always fascinated in biology and wilderness, which became large themes in her future writings, this was because she lived in northern Ontario for bit in her early childhood.
- Atwood studied at some of the most prestigious universities in the world.
1952. Margaret with her brother Harold
and sister Ruth.
- She then went on the get her Master's degree from Harvard's Radcliffe College.
- Atwood also received degrees from the Royal Canadian College and the National University of Ireland.
- After her long and tedious time as a student, Atwood went on to teach what she had learned. She taught at the University of British Columbia, and many others including: Sir George Williams University in Montreal, the University of Alberta, and York University in Toronto.
This piece of work is part of a collection. The poems in this collection explore ordinary day-to-day life activities which involve the terrors of a universe threatened by technology.
- Atwood has become one of the most influential and popular Canadian authors of all time. Over her long career she has been recognized for her work and has received over one hundred awards.
Your lungs fill & spread themselves,
wings of pink blood, and your bones
empty themselves and become hollow.
When you breathe in you’ll lift like a balloon
and your heart is light too & huge,
beating with pure joy, pure helium.
The sun’s white winds blow through you,
there’s nothing above you,
you see the earth now as an oval jewel,
radiant & seablue with love.
It’s only in dreams you can do this.
Waking, your heart is a shaken fist,
a fine dust clogs the air you breathe in;
the sun’s a hot copper weight pressing straight
down on the think pink rind of your skull.
It’s always the moment just before gunshot.
You try & try to rise but you cannot.
- Some of the main awards include; The Governor General's Award: Circle Game, 1966, Union Poetry Prize, 1969, The Officer, Order of Canada, 1973, The Canadian Bookseller's Association Award, 1977, Governor General's Award, The Handmaid's Tale, 1986, Companion of the Order of Canada, 1981, YWCA Women of Distinction Award, 1988 (for her work with women empowerment), The Order of Ontario, 1990, Trillium Award for Excellence in Ontario Writing, 1995, The Giller Prize for Alias Grace, 1996, National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Literature, 1997, London Literature Award, 1999, Winner Booker Prize for The Blind Assassin, 2000, Winner of the Prince of Asturias Award for Letters, Spain, 2008 and The Governor General of Canada's Golden Jubilee Medal, 2012.
" China to issue urbanization layout in 2013|Economy|chinadaily.com.cn." Chinadaily US Edition. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2013-03/06/content_16284465.htm>.
:. "Japan marks two years since triple disaster amid slow progress on rebuilding, radiation cleanup | Toronto Star ." thestar.com | Toronto Star | Canada's largest daily . N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/03/11/japan_marks_two_years_since_triple_disaster_amid_slow_progress_on_rebuilding_radiation_cleanup.html>.
"Al Gore: The Future." Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/al-gore/al-gore-new-book-the-future-six-drivers-of-global-change_b_2552458.html>.
Atwood, Margaret. "The circle game by Margaret Atwood : The Poetry Foundation." Poetry Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/177288>.
"Biography." Margaret Atwood. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <http://margaretatwood.ca/bio.php >.
Category. "Margaret Atwood Bio - Biography of Margaret Atwood." About.com Contemporary Literature. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <http://contemporarylit.about.com/cs/authors/p/atwood.htm>.
"Flying Inside Your Own Body by Margaret Atwood." PoemHunter.Com - Thousands of poems and poets. Poetry Search Engine. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/flying-inside-your-own-body/>.
Hui., Annika. "The transformation of Toronto's skyline from 1880 to today." blogTO | Toronto blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <http://www.blogto.com/city/2010/08/the_transformation_of_torontos_skyline_from_1880_to_today/>.
"I need an analysis for margaret atwoods poem flying inside your own body? - Yahoo! Answers." Yahoo! Answers - Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100502225621AASd74P>.
Margaret Atwood is regarded as one of Canada’s finest living writers. Her works are full of depth and show the words of a true and honest writer. She displays a variety of topics within each piece and leaves readers with different interpretations and opinions to walk away with. The imagery she conveys in her pieces are remarkable, these are just two of many outstanding works by Atwood.
- Clearly Margaret Atwood is an amazing author that represents Canada with her talents. She makes us proud to share our identity with her.
Margaret and her brother Harold and her mother, and a lot of blueberries. (http://www.margaretatwood.ca/photos.php)
1986. Margaret and Dolly Parton at Ms. Magazine Awards. (http://www.margaretatwood.ca/photos.php)
Margaret and Phoebe Larmore, her agent since 1971. (http://www.margaretatwood.ca/photos.php)
1978, Trafalgar Square. The kids: Matthew, Graeme, and Jess. (http://www.margaretatwood.ca/photos.php)
1979. Margaret, Graeme, and Jess.
1967. Margaret in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Picture taken after The Circle Game wins Governor's General Award. (http://www.margaretatwood.ca/photos.php)
Handmaid's Tale

The Animals in That Country (1968)
"The truly fearless think of themselves as normal." -Margaret Atwood
"War is what happens when language fails." - Margaret Atwood
1984. Writing The Handmaid's Tale. Berlin.
More About Atwood...
2000. Margaret wins Booker Prize for The Blind Assassin. (http://www.margaretatwood.ca/photos.php)
Today's Literature
Civilization vs Wilderness
Al Gore- The Future
Urbanization in China
- Growing up Atwood drew much inspiration from her favourite poet Edgar Allan Poe.
(margaretatwood.ca, awards,)
- Her family moved to Toronto, Ontario when she was eleven years old.
- She began writing at the age of six, which was when she started her first novel.
- She married in 1968 and divorced in 1973, soon after she found her common law husband.
- After her divorce, Margaret met Graeme Gibson they moved back to Toronto and had their first daughter Jess Gibson Atwood.
- Her most recent book is The Happy Zombie Sunrise Home in 2012-13.
- Currently Atwood has been making many appearances. She does many interviews and readings all across North America. Here she talks about her work and social and economic problems.
Interpretation: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100502225621AASd74P
Photo: http://camillegallant.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/flying-inside-your-own-body/
- She has become very involved with politics
- Recently there was movie made called 'In the Wake of the Flood', which is a documentary film that followed Atwood on the unusual book tour for her novel The Year of the Flood which was released in late 2010.
Women's rights in society have been a global issue for many years. In many countries all over the world women are not treated equally. Many of them live in fear and struggle for their lives every day. One country where women are not as fortunate as we are in Canada is Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia the main religion practiced is Islam. In some more extreme Islamic customs called Sharia Law women are forced to have a male guardian, women are also not allowed to vote nor be elected as political leaders. Women are prohibited to drive, and Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world with this law. Innocent women face immense amounts of abuse and go through things unimaginable to most humans.
The Circle Game won the 1966 Governor General's Award for Poetry and quickly was given an international reputation in the modern poetry world. Atwood won the Governor General’s Award because of the outstanding voice in this collection of poems. She is witty, vulnerable, direct, and incisive within many poems written in the collection. She writes compassionately about the risks of love in a growing technological age and the search for identity in a universe that throws you curve balls.
The Handmaid’s Tale won the 1985 Governor General’s Award for Poetry. It is a dystopian novel which means it focuses on poverty, suffering, or oppression. Atwood lets us explore themes of women being treated unjustly and the ways in which they fight for their justice. Atwood in her novels educates readers on human and civil rights and how the stereotypes of women are still in existence today, which is why her novels are so powerful and she is awarded for them with this prestigious award.
Women's Rights, in the Saudi Arabia
In every continent, in every country, every state, every city, every town you can see what is quickly happening to the beautiful world we live in. We have become this technological planet and we consume more and more resources that people have yet to realize, are not unlimited. Every day scientists and inventors are coming up with newer, faster, and better ways of doing things. Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining and it may be great in some ways, but sadly usually it makes us give up something else, and that is nature. Before we came into play, our planet was filled with lively forests, soaring mountains, and clean waters. It was simple, but it was beautiful. We have complicated everything on so many different levels, and we are continuing to expand and industrialize.
"We find ourselves in a period of rapid, simultaneous and exponential change, unlike anything the world has ever seen before. Trying to make sense of our new reality is a daunting challenge. The future holds both great opportunities to be taken advantage of and profound challenges to address. More so than ever before, humanity needs to unite around the principles of sustainability and democracy. We all have an important role to play in reclaiming control of our destiny." (Al Gore)
"While mapping the future is a risky undertaking, perhaps the only thing riskier is doing nothing." (Al Gore)
Al Gore released his newest novel 'The Future' January of this year.
Gore’s novel describes how we are living in a time of revolutionary change that has never occurred before in history. We are shaping our future. Just like he discussed the challenge of climate change he strikes us in the novel with facts that are shocking but the brutally honest truth. He shows his passion for our planet's riches and wants to educate people on the path we are taking, hoping to persuade everyone that we must make a change. Gore, in his novel, identifies the emerging forces that are reshaping our world, including:
• Increasing economic globalization
• The worldwide digital communications, Internet, and computer revolutions
• The balance of global political, economic, and military power
• A flawed economy leading us to unsustainable growth in consumption, pollution flows, and depletion of the planet's resources of topsoil, freshwater, and living species.
• Biotechnology, neuroscience, and life sciences revolutions radically changing the fields of medicine, agriculture, and molecular science.
• The disruption in the relationship and balance between human beings and the earth's ecosystems, and the transformations of energy systems, agriculture, transportation, and construction worldwide.

‘The Future’ explains how the control of evolution is in our hand. It is a map of the world to come, from a man who has looked ahead before and has been proven right.
Let's hit closer to home
Stop at 3:03
On March 6th of this year the US version of China Daily released an article that discussed the facts of China's future urbanization and their layout which is likely to be issued this year to guide the country's urbanization in hopefully, the right direction.
Zhang Ping, head of NDRC, says in the article: "Urbanization offers the largest potential for China to expand domestic demand. China needs better planning to improve the quality of urbanization, particularly to address problems such as inadequate services provided to new urban dwellers from rural areas, backward infrastructure and imbalanced distribution of resources between mega-cities and small and medium-sized cities."
China's urban-rural structure has changed remarkably in recent years, with more than half of its population dwelling in cities. Their urbanization rate rose by 1.3 percentage points to 52.57 percent last year, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.
China is evidently the most rapidly growing place on our planet. The amount of corporations, businesses, and commercial buildings are rocket high. They are limiting our planets resources drastically every day. We need to find a way to control expansion and economic growth before we replace nature completely.
Facts about China
China consumes 53% of the world's cement, 48% of the world's iron ore, 47% of the world's coal and the majority of just about every major resource or good.
China's enormous Gobi Desert is the size of Peru and expanding 1,400 square miles per year due to water source depletion, over-foresting, and over-grazing.
China has 64 million vacant homes, including entire cities that are empty.
Yet by 2025, China will build enough skyscrapers to fill TEN New York-sized cities.
With a city like Toronto, where developments have seemed to come in major stages it is interesting to see the skyline and the process of urbanization over the years.
It is evident that no matter where in the world, we are taking away our resources and consuming them. We replace them with buildings, homes, factories, and we destroy the beauty and nature that this world was once abundant with. It has and always will be a huge problem until we can make more resources and land than we consume or take up.
What Are Women's Rights?
By definition women's rights are the rights and entitlements made by the government for women and girls. In some countries throughout the world like Canada these rights are supported by laws, political leaders and behaviour. Although, many countries have equal rights for all people some places are not as lucky. In the past years the world has been making large strides in improving the overall rights and well being of women. There are many organizations that band together to fight for the rights of those without a voice. Even with these organizations millions of women and girls in countries all over the world are still being suppressed everyday for being born a female.
"Oppression can only survive in silence."-unknown
"Human's rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human's rights"-Hillary Clinton
We have torn down forests, polluted waters and demolished mountains. We have replace beauty with soaring sky scrapers, massive warehouses, and gigantic cruise liners. If we continue to destruct and take over nature at this rate, there will be no more forests. A blog says, “Instead maybe an occasional “virtual” forest that allows you to see the forest but you cannot smell it or be “pestered” by the annoying woodland life.” Nature would be non-existent and our world will be changed forever. The blog also says: “It would be a nightmare if our great grandchildren never saw a real waterfall and all its beauty, just because they were taken over by technology. So it should be our goal as humans to find that balance of technology and nature and then the world would truly be a great place.”
- She first graduated from the University of Toronto, where she received a Bachelor's degree in English in the year 1961.
- women's roles in society
- dynamics of our economic and social structures
Mackowski, Joanie. "Margaret Atwood : The Poetry Foundation." Poetry Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/margaret-atwood>.
"Margaret Atwood." Margaret Atwood. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <http://www.margaretatwood.ca/photos.php>.
"Margaret Eleanor Atwood - The Canadian Encyclopedia." The Canadian Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/margaret-eleanor-atwood>.
"Margaret Eleanor Atwood - The Canadian Encyclopedia." The Canadian Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/margaret-eleanor-atwood>.
"The Future by Al Gore - Former Vice President, Winner of the Nobel Prize (UK version) - YouTube." YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <
"The Future: Book summary and reviews of The Future by Al Gore." Book reviews: Find the best new books. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <http://www.bookbrowse.com/bb_briefs/detail/index.cfm/ezine_preview_number/8169/the-future>.
"Urbanization in China - YouTube." YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <
att. "Margaret Atwood - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Atwood>.
country. "Women's rights in Saudi Arabia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women's_rights_in_Saudi_Arabia>.
country. "Women's rights - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women's_rights>.
MLA formatting by BibMe.org.
Timeline of Toronto's Skyline
1920s - 1930s
1968, 1973
2010, 2014
Could you imagine being one of these innocent women and not being able choosing who you can marry, being denied access to go to school, getting abused for your gender, becoming a sex slave or being denied the right to vote? These are just some of the horrible oppressions that women and young girls face every day. Choices are something that many people take for granted, the choice of what they do with their lives, who their friends are and what they wear are just small examples of things we are lucky to have, because many people can only wish to be as fortunate as us. Clearly, someone's gender is not something they can change, and no one deserves to fight for something they should be entitled to.
These poor women are controlled in every aspect of their lives, from what they wear, what they do, who they can speak to and where and when the go places. In Saudi Arabia most public places (banks, universities and offices) separate men and women, they do this to minimize interaction between them. Saudi Arabian women are taught from a young age that there primary role is to bear and raise children, although Sharia Law does not prohibit women to work many of them do not. In Canada we are lucky enough to have overcome these issues many years ago so we do not have to go through the hardship and pain that these women are facing.
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