- Imandi Paulin Harmoniel 1215325
The Oppression of women in society is one of the most depicted themes in women literature. And “This is a Photograph of Me” by Margaret Atwood is not an exception. It is an Artwork in which the theme (oppression of women) is fully explored through a Pictionary poem.
Indeed, Margaret Atwood the Canadian poet makes use of multitudes of images of nature (branch: part of a tree) to show that women appear only as a supplement to this picture. In other words, she uses the images of nature to show that women are taken for granted in the society.
The ambiguity used in the poem is one the key power that helps the persona to reach her goal. Indeed, from the title (This is a photograph of me), we all expect a clear description of the persona (since it is her picture). But on further reading, all we get is the picture of a beautiful landscape. But, still we expect to see a feminine body making an appearance in the landscape. And to our big surprise, we learn later that persona is dead. She has drowned in the lake which is a metaphor for the male dominated society. Margaret Atwood uses the ambiguity and mysticism to state that, women are so much oppressed in our society in such way that they end up losing their identities.
Margaret Atwood did not just make use of good images to make her point. She also made use of her grammatical skills. Indeed, the brackets towards the end of the poem are of great significance in the achievement of the author’s goal. Brackets are normally used to bring a supplement of information whose absence will not affect the sense of the conveyed idea. Surprisingly in the poem “This is a photograph of me” it is in the part of the poem enclosed in brackets where we get more information about the woman who is supposed to be in the picture. The persona uses this style to show the hopeless situation of the woman in society and the lack of importance accorded to them.
It is true and real! Oppression of women in society is not merely a flaw but a devil that threatens the stability of our society. However, some questions arise:
Are men entirely responsible for the oppression of women?
Do not women share a part of responsibility on the curse which lies upon them? When they bargain for power in patriarchal societies through compromise, aren’t they contributing to this devil?