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"The Landlady" Poetry Commentary Essay

998 words - 4 pages

Margaret Atwood's theme in The Landlady is about the speaker's prison-like living situation in what can be assumed to be a dorm. The landlady has made home, the place where we can feel free and comfortable, to a suffering sentence. The landlady is sin control, and the speaker, a young university student, cannot escape from the landlady, physically nor mentally.The Landlady is effectively written in free verse and is a run-on style of poetry, allowing the readers emotions and thoughts to carry to the next line all the way to the end of the poem. The poem runs for 9 stanzas, all of which vary in the number of lines. The shorter stanzas are in the beginning and in the end; where as the larger ...view middle of the document...

The poem is cleverly divided into four sections, each giving a different and new idea. The first section, which is the first four stanzas, is the speaker describing the landlady. She is said to be "intrusive" and "everywhere". This symbolizes that the landlady is strong and controlling. The second section, which is the fifth stanza, says that the landlady is said to control the speaker's life; everything belongs to the landlady and nothing to the university student. The third section, which the sixth stanza, explaining the speaker's dream of an escape from the landlady, but even in the dream, she is just always there. The last section, which is the remaining three stanzas, describes how the landlady is overpowering and will not let the speaker go through her. As noted before, the form of the poem suggest the tone of the poem as fearful, full of anxiety, and a sense of entrapment by the speaker because of the woman's power and authority over him. The fifth verse, "and when I dream images/of daring escapes through the snow/I find myself walking/always over a vast face/which is the land-/lady's, and wake up shouting," give the poem and almost breathless quality, reflected in these short, broken lines. Atwood uses strong use imagery and metaphorical language. Images are vivid and informative to give us a clearer understanding of how the landlady is viewed by the speaker. In the second stanza, Atwood writes that the landlady is "a raw voice", using a synecdoche, indicating beastlike sounds. The landlady is given beastlike imagery, when the speaker says she is "loose in the rooms beneath me" like...

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