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You Are Happy by Margaret Atwood


You Are Happy by Margaret Atwood was published in 1974 by Oxford University Press.

It is divided into four sections. The first section is called You Are Happy. There is some irony in the fact that the first section is You Are Happy and the first poem is about a man being killed in a firing squad. The first poem and the poems in this section have contrast like that. There is tension of being and not being, wanting something and not wanting something. The first poem is called Newsreel: Man and Firing Squad. It begins with Destruction and beauty and ends with the idea of death and dancing. This section ends with the poem You Are Happy. I really liked several of these poems and there were some really great metaphors throughout this entire collection.


The second section is called Songs of the Transformed. The main theme in this section is animals and the relationship between animals and humans. The titles of the poems will give it away. pig song, bull song, rat song, crow song, song of the worms, owl song, siren song, song of the fox, song of the hen's head, and corpse song. I think that last poem being about a corpse is to remind us that we are mortal animals too.


The third section is Sirsee/Mud Poems. Circe comes from Greek mythology. CIrcee used magic to change humans into animals. There are no titles for the poems in this section.


The last section is called There is Only One of Everything. One of the poems I really liked in this section is First Prayer.


This collection has a lot of the typical Atwood themes. There are themes of drowning, death, animal and human relationships, and nature. There was a theme of reconciliation or forgiveness, the idea of words or the Word with a capital W. There was also a theme of mirroring or reflecting, and being a traveller or travelling sometimes that was equated to living and the theme of love, which we don't always see in Atwood's writing up until this point.


Bookworm Rating: 🐛🐛🐛🐛🐛

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