Feminism in Margaret Atwood’s poem “This is a Photograph of Me”

Margaret Atwood is a well known feminist author who writes about the oppression of women in a patriarchal society. Her poem This is a Photograph of Me also shares this idea symbolically through the image of a photograph. The title of the poem itself shows the passive role of women in society. In a society which is regulated by men the role of women is passive. But without them the society will not survive. Atwood begins the poem by describing the photograph. It is a blurred photograph which was taken some time ago. And throughout the lines she continues the description of the photograph’s each element. There is the branch or part of a tree in the left hand side of the photograph, which has emerged to the right hand side. This branch without any roots can be considered as the role of women in a society who is placed on the left side or weaker side. But on the right hand side of the photograph a frame house is visible which is associated with men. The background of the photograph is a lake which represents the society. And beyond that lake there is low hills. The hills and lakes keep the women in shadow. Margaret Atwood is trying to show that the society and men exploits the true potential of women. The narrator says that I’m in the lake, in the center of the picture. But it is difficult to say precisely where she is. This shows the nature of a patriarchal society. The place of womanhood in a society is mandatory. However the world tries, the women’s place cannot be underwritten. Atwood focuses on this truth by saying that her place in the photograph is not clear. But when we look long enough everyone will be able to see her place in the photograph or the society itself. Through the image of a photograph Atwood strongly presents the oppression faced by women. Photograph stands for history which is not clear. The contribution of women to the society is necessary but the history created by men does not praise of give importance to them. Women are always hidden or drowned as Atwood says. This truth is underlined by Atwood in this feministic poem, This is a Photograph of Me.

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