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Manet's Olympia

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Fiona McCarten

on 15 October 2013

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Transcript of Manet's Olympia

Manet's Olympia
Main Idea
Tone, Mood, and Structure
Mood starts of factual, however there is a clear voice, which indicates the narrator has opinion.
1st stanza: Voice continues to make judgements about Olympia, becoming more immoral, makes Olympia seem wicked - but is likely Atwood showing other side.
Sharp tone shift in line 14, caused by fragmented sentence "But." Goes on to say Olympia fights stereotype by being bold and unashamed.
She shows you're not buying her, you're just buying time with her body, so she can remain proud and unashamed.
Both art forms are "unclassical"
Phrases like "how sinister" and "indoor sin" connotate a deplorable nature.
"Slut" connotates that she is dirty, her actions wrongful.
When tone shift occurs, diction portrays Olympia as strong, unwaivering; "unfragile", "defiant".
"Bull's-eye" is connotative of strenth, parallells Olympia's bold gaze.
"Voyeur" gets called furniture, turning the objectification onto viewer, "get stuffed" finalizes the poem in a comical yet poignant way.
Shocking words mirror shocking painting
Figurative Language
"Ambush" - play on words, symbol for private area "Concealing" is showing sexual independence
"Naturally not real" - juxtaposing contrast
"Pale nipples / staring you" - personification
"Shoes but not stockings" - symbol for being improper
Voyeur = "furniture" - symbol for objectification
"Black ribbon" - symbolizes disconnect between body and mind.
Atwood uses this allusion to Manet's Olympia to describe her own views on the female's roles and equality.
Olympia is sexually independent from men because she can withhold her body from men in exchange for money.
She has control over her own welfare, an her body is her leverage.
Through the poem, Atwood describes a heroine: she understands the appetites of men but is “no morsel”.
poem by Margaret Atwood
About the Painting
Painted in 1863 by Edouard Manet
Shocked public and art critics, not because of nudity, but because of prostitution
Name "Olympia" and hand over crotch are symbollic
Her confrontational gaze shows how she is not ashamed, and looks on boldly.
Fiona McCar
Considers the painting and shows how symbols of prostitution affect how Olympia is perceived
Olympia's point of view
1st stanza judges Olympia, calling her a "slut".
2nd stanza counters judgement, claiming that she is unashamed and her body is just her profession.
3rd and 4th stanza then turn the judgement onto the viewer, the Voyeur, who is just as easy to judge.
Feminist ideas
"We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly."
Uses the painting as a way to personify her ideas.
Full transcript