Margaret Atwood Analysis - The Immigrants Essay - Margaret...

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Margaret Atwood Seminar: “The Immigrants”The poem “The Immigrants” was published by Margret Atwood in 1970 in her collectionof poems calledThe Journals of Susanna Moodie. This particular poem appears under:JournalII: 1840- 1871. This particular journal describes the first 30 years that female pioneer SusannaMoodie spends living in Belleville, Ontario. Using Moodie’s persona and personal experiences,Atwood’s poetry exploresthe common human experience of being immersed into a new cultureor situation.“The Immigrants” explains the hardships faced by the settlers in their travels and theirchange in perception of their homeland. They idealize the memories of their homes, forgettingthe difficulties and gritty details. Moodie, and by extension, Atwood, come to the conclusion thatin order to adapt to a new surroundings, one must forget the past and lose their connection tothe homeland. Moodie, however, is unable to do so because she still clings to her life back inEngland, as well as preoccupied with pessimismabout the immigrants’ futures, and byextension, her own.In the first two stanzas, Atwood explains the circumstances that have caused theimmigrants to migrate to Canada. These immigrants inherited their homes and neighbourhoodsonly to have them unjustly taken away. The first stanza describes these homes in a way thatdraws links to the human hand, most explicitly in the simile “sidewalks involved as palmlines”and the lines “orchards whorled to the land’s contours,” the word “whorled” referring to one ofthe central ridges of a fingerprint forming at least one complete circle. Seeing as no two peopleshare the same handprint, the immigrants’ homesare as much a part of their identities as their handprints. In addition, the bricks are described as“exhausted and soft,” also possible descriptors of hands.
The human connection established with the homes of the immigrants results in a

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Term
Summer
Professor
Mr.E.
Tags
English, Moodie, Susanna Moodie, The Journals of Susanna Moodie

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