Friday, March 28, 2008

"Siren Song"

I will tell the secret to you,
to you, only to you.
Come closer: This song

is a cry for help; Help me!
Only you, only you can,
you are unique (Atwood 19-24)

In these two stanzas from Margaret Atwood's "Siren Song" the female speaker lures in a listener. The diction and the poetic devices set-up a slow, soft mood. If the speaker wants to tell a secret she is probably whispering and gesturing for the listener to come near and pay attention. End stops are used in the first stanza to maintain a nice, slow pace. Suddenly the stanza shoots into the following stanza by use of enjambment. The speaker cries, "Help me!" When reading this section one almost feels the screaching cry pound on thier eardrum. It's as if the reader were drawn in close and listening hard because of the first stanza, and then this bird screams directly into the reader's ear. The phrase "only you" that speaker used in the first stanza is twiced repeated in the second, except it takes on a new and desperate tone in the latter. The shrillness of the speaker's cry is expanded on by the bird conceit employed throughout the poem. However, the speaker also has a dual identity as a woman searching for a man. The shrillness of a cry from a bird is demonstrated in the above lines, while the literal meaning is more closely linked to the feelings of a woman speaker. The meter of the lines is irregular, but I did find that the almost even mixture of iambs and trochees might be also linked to the duality of the speaker.


Melissa Kerrigan said...

Your explination really helped me understand this poem and the title. When I first read it, I had a mono-tone sort of voice and did not make the connection with the title. After re-reading the excerpt, the title made sense and I found more emotion in the writings.Your explination is very clear, to the point, and easy to understand and interpret.

woodstl said...

I agree. Great interpretation of the material. Just wondering if you choose this poem to write on.

Feras said...

This poem was a interesting and i like how poets mix greek mythology with their messaages. I enjoyed your interpretation, nice job.

Desiree Goodwin said...

This is a nice interpretation of the text. It's always great to see other student's understanding of the lit. even after discussing it in class. I also really enjoy reading the poems that incorporate greek mythology.