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Variation On the Word Sleep Analysis

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Kathryn Maley

on 5 January 2014

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Transcript of Variation On the Word Sleep Analysis

Variation On the Word Sleep
Margaret Atwood
Main Idea
I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head

and walk with you through that lucent
waving forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear

I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and as you enter
it as easily as breathing in

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.
use of structure and line placement to convey different points or create emphasis
importance of word choice and variations of words
references to nature that relate to life and death
When one is in deepest love, their hope is to become so much a part of their lover's life that they are needed for survival, but not aknowledged in the every day life of the lover.
Symbolism and figurative language
multiple meanings of words/ phrases
Extended metaphor of drowning
"waving forest", "bluegreen leaves", "watery sun & three moons" show image of looking up from underwater
change from "smooth dark wave" to "lucent waving forest" displys the turbulance of pain before death and the peacefulness of "life" after death
states that he "must" descend
The Hero comes into Play
"follow you up the long stairway" suggestes the stairway to heaven
described as boat
carry flame back to body
enters body as easily as breathing in
"air that inhabits body for a moment only"
"that unnoticed and that necessary"
What is really going on here?
sleep is used to descibe an out of body experience
death = permenant sleep
she is putting the life back into him and waking him up from the "permanent sleep"
she does not want to be unnoticed and necessary like sleep, but like air, which is needed, but not acknowledged.
she wants a relationship in which it is so easy to be with that person that it is like they are not even there
he is entering his own body
"enter" at beginning and end
"sleep with you" is separated to show different connotation
imagery all has to do with water mixed with other elements
"only" is spearated to the next line for emphasis
Variation On the Word Sleep Analysis
Margaret Atwood
Canadian poet
poet, novelist, story writer, essayist, and environmentalist
females typically suffer in her poems yet are not passivists
supports feminism, environmentalism, and social justice
Full transcript