Homework Assistance
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need help
Posted by: swarnali (210.212.61.---)
Date: April 15, 2009 07:20AM

i need the analysis of the poem JOURNEY TO THE INTERIOR by MARGARET ATWOOD.please help me

Re: need help
Posted by: IanAKB (210.84.7.---)
Date: April 15, 2009 09:01AM

This poem and its analysis has been discussed before in Emule:

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The poem is set out in that thread, so I am setting it out again below. I don't have any other copy, so please, Swarnali, check from your book that it is accurate, and post here any corrections that are needed.

Swarnali, there is no such thing as "the analysis" of the poem. There are many different ways of analysing any poem. Which way you need to do it will depend on what points your teacher wants you to cover. Has your teacher given you any guidance on that?

I would also expect you to do as much of the analysis work as possible. Parts of it can be quite easy. So please, list the points that you believe your teacher wants you to cover in an analysis. Then post here your tentative ideas or answers on as many of them as you can.

Don't worry too much about whether you are getting the answers right or wrong. A lot of poetry appreciation or analysis is just opinion, to which the right/wrong distinction doesn't apply. You just need to be able to explain why you favour any particular opinion.

We may be able to help you at Emule if you appear to be going way off track on some point, or if there is something really difficult that you don't understand.

Your first task will be to read the poem though and through a number of times, to try to get an understanding or feeling of what it's about. Remember that a poem may have meanings at different levels. It may have a surface meaning describing various things; but those things may be symbols for something else underneath.

Here is the poem:


There are similarities
I notice: that the hills
which the eyes make flat as a wall, welded
together, open as I move
to let me through; become
endless as prairies; that the trees
grow spindly, have their roots
often in swamps; that this is a poor country;
that a cliff is not known
as rough except by hand, and is
therefore inaccessible. Mostly
that travel is not the easy going

from point to point, a dotted
line on a map, location
plotted on a square surface
but that I move surrounded by a tangle
of branches, a net of air and alternate
light and dark, at all times;
that there are no destinations
apart from this.

There are differences
of course: the lack of reliable charts;
more important, the distraction of small details:
your shoe among the brambles under the chair
where it shouldn't be; lucent
white mushrooms and a paring knife
on the kitchen table; a sentence
crossing my path, sodden as a fallen log
I'm sure I passed yesterday

(have l been
walking in circles again?)

but mostly the danger:
many have been here, but only
some have returned safely.

A compass is useless; also
trying to take directions
from the movements of the sun,
which are erratic;
and words here are as pointless
as calling in a vacant wilderness.

Whatever I do I must
keep my head. I know
it is easier for me to lose my way
forever here, than in other landscapes

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