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Half-Hanged Mary

Matt, Alex, Reagan

Alexandra Figueroa

on 4 January 2013

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Transcript of Half-Hanged Mary

Half Hanged Mary Margaret Atwood Birds Literary Elements Overall Analysis "Most will have only one death.
I will have two."

Women targeted "I did no crime I was born I have borne I will bear I will be born" Women targeted Crows Freedom in Death Achieving freedom
Crows represent death, or something bad to come. like a bad omen. The crow mentioned could be like death was waiting to come.
Also, Crows are lonely creatures, usually traveling alone versus in flock. This could represent Mary because she is kind of alone in society. She lives by herself, and after this she wont really have friends. This could also relate to Hester because she is kind of alone too. In a way, Mary got her freedom and her rights back when they attempted to kill her. Women didn't really have either back then. She could do whatever she wanted after the hanging because people were scared of her. They legally couldn't hang her again, and probably thought she was actually a witch. She got freedom in being rejected from society. Mary, at some point, claims she has died. She means that her spirit was dead. They killed her old self, and also her religious self. Now she is a different person and is more bitter, but she also has a sense of release. She no longer has to conform to the rigid puritan society. Mary talks about how she was hanged for "living alone, for having blue eyes and sunburned skin, tattered skirts, few buttons, a weedy farm in my own name, and a surefire cure for warts". all these things allude to the fact that she was unmarried, and had no one to protect her. Also she had property only in her name, and she was a medicine women. all this made her an optimal target " Oh yes, and breasts, and a sweet pear hidden in my body. Whenever there's talk of demons. These come in handy".
She is saying that the witch trials would find you, just for being a woman. Women usually were defenseless and had very few rights. Especially because Mary was unmarried and probably poor. This quote, near the end of the story, describes how she feels at the end of her torture.
"I was born"- her actual physical birth.
"I have borne"- she has born the cruelties of society
"I will bear"- Determination, she will live, and continue to be strong. And she knows there are more trials she will have to endure.
"I will be born"- Her second, spiritual birth. could be alluding to the puritan faith and baptism. She means her old self is dead, and she is a different person. - This quote describes how Mary is re-born, she feels destroyed, she demonstrates how hanging there has lead to the death of her true identity, and her soul has been re-born. - "Call it Not Yet, not yet,
as Heaven threatens to explode
inwards in fire and shredding flesh, and the angels caw.

- "Wind seethes in the leaves around
me the tree exude night
birds night birds yell inside..."

- "Death sits on my shoulder like a crow
waiting for my squeezed beet
of a heart to burst
so he can eat my eyes"

- "Help me down? You don't dare.
I might rub off on you,
like soot or gossip. Birds
of a feather burn together,
though as a rule ravens are singular." - "I didn't feel the aimed word hit
and go in like a soft bullet..."
- "Up I go like a windfall in reverse,
a blackened apple stuck back onto a tree."
- "their own evil turned inside out like a glove,
and me wearing it...
The bonnets come to stare,
the dark skirts also,"
- "Does my twisting body spell out Grace?
I hurt, therefore I am.
Faith, Charity, and Hope
are three dead angels..."
- "Also, I'm about three inches taller."
- "At the end of my rope
I testify to silence
Don't say I'm not grateful."
- Mary is symbolic of freedom: "Trussed hands, rag in my mouth, a flag raised to salute the moon."
- This poem demonstrated women= easiest target
- Mary is a symbol of witchcraft
- Tone changes dramatically
-Mary needed all the hope she could get
- Talking to God: "Is it my choice that I'm dangling here like a turkey's wattles from this more than indifferent tree? If Nature is Your alphabet, what letter is this rope?"
- Mary's tone conveys she is angry with God.
- She could'nt give up: "To give up my own words for myself, my own refusals. To give up knowing. To give up pain. To let go."
- She feels drained, nothing is left. She needs sanity again. "Did they ask to be tossed
on the ground, gabbling like holy poultry,
eyeballs bulging?" - This quote demonstrates the tone changes. Mary's wants and needs are now two different prayers. Her prayers have changed to a state of begging, pleading, and demanding. Mary is no longer asking for help.
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