Essay, Research Paper: Margaret Atwood

Famous People

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"There is so much silence between the words..." SOCI 4019 September
29, 1999. An Overview of Works, Styles, and Themes Margaret Atwood has written a
great number of novels and other forms of literature. The major press editions
are as follows: ~ WORKS~ Poetry ¨ 1964, The Cirle Game ¨ 1968, The Animals in
That Country ¨ 1970, The Journals of Susanna Moodie ¨ 1970, Procedures for
Underground ¨ 1971, Power Politics ¨ 1974, You are Happy ¨ 1978, Selected
Poems ¨ 1978, Two-Headed Poems ¨ 1981, True Stories ¨ 1984, Interlunar ¨
1987, Selected Poems II: Poems Selected and New, 1976-1986 ¨ 1990, Selected
Poems 1966-1975 ¨ 1995, Morning in the Burned House Short Fiction ¨ 1977,
"Dancing Girls" ¨ 1983, "Murder in the Dark" ¨ 1983,
"Bluebeard's Egg" ¨ 1991, "Wilderness Tips" ¨ 1992,
"Good Bones" Novels ¨ 1969, The Edible Woman 1985, The Handmaid's
Tale ¨ 1972, Surfacing 1988, Cat's Eye ¨ 1976, Lady Oracle 1993, The Robber
Bride ¨ 1979, Life Before Man 1996, Alias Grace ¨ 1981, Bodily Harm Children's
Books ¨ 1978, Up in the Tree ¨ 1980, Anna's Pet ¨ 1990, For the Birds ¨
1995, Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut Non-Fiction ¨ 1972, Survival: A
Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature ¨ 1977, Days of the Rebels 1815-1840 ¨
1982, Second Words: Selected Critical Prose ¨ 1995, Strange Things: The
Malevolent North in Canadian Literature Edited ¨ 1982, The New Oxford Book of
Canadian Verse in English ¨ 1986, The Oxford Book of Canadian Short Stories in
English ¨ 1987, The Canlit Foodbook ¨ 1989, The Best American Short Stories ¨
1995, The New Oxford Book of Canadian Short Stories in English ~ STYLE ~
Although many have used Margaret Atwoods style of writing poetry, not one has
yet to compete with her words. Typically, Margaret sticks to formal style of
poetry, using original text with separated stanzas. Margarets stlye of writing
gives an overwhelming effect to the reader; moreover, her style of writing
adjusts to the theme of the particular piece. ~ THEMES ~ The essential features
of Atwood’s fictions and poetry has been described as a search for a personal
and national identity. Survival is a central theme throughout her works, as is
the quest for self unity. Biography Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa, Ontario,
on November 18, 1939. Because her father was a forest entomologist, Atwood spent
most of her childhood living in the Canadian Wilderness. During the eight months
of each year that her father did insect research in the forest, the Atwood
family lived in “a cabin with a wood stove and several kerosene lanterns.
There were bears and wolves and moose and loons” ( qtd. in “Author
Profile”). While this lifestyle was exciting, she did not have most modern
conviences and technology. To entertain herself, Atwood read books. They became
her only means for entertainment and escape. “I read them all, even when they
weren’t supposed to be for children” (qtd. in “Author Profile”). During
this childhood of reading, Atwood also began to write. By the age of six, ATwood
was writing poems, morality plays, comic books, and an unfinished novel about an
ant. Ten years later, Atwood decided that she only wanted to write. She wanted
to live a double life; to go places she had not been before; to examine life on
earth; to come to know people in ways, and at depths, that were otherwise
impossible; to be surprised; and to give something of what she had received. Two
years after this life-altering decision, Atwood entered Victoria College at the
University of Toronto. She received her bachelor’s degree from Victoria
College in 1961, and then went on to receive her Master’s degree from
Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Atwood also received education
from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, during 1962-63 and 1965-67.
Atwood began her career through self-publication. She sold these books for fifty
cents each. During this period, Atwood married Graeme Gibson, a fellow writer
who was born in London, Ontario, in 1934. Togehter, they have three grown
children and two cats. Although Atwood both grew up and resides presently in
Canada, she ahs lived in numerous cities throughout the world. The Canadian
residences include Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie, Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton,
Alliston, and Vancouver. In the United States, Atwood has lived in Boston,
Massachusetts, and in Alabama. She has also lived and travelled in England,
France, Italy , and Germany. Geographical, Historical, Political and Social
Influences With respect to the fact that Atwood was raised, and spent most of
her childhood in the Canadian wilderness, it is safe to say that her
geographical surroundings influenced her in several ways. While residing in the
wilderness of Canada, Atwood discovered her ture passion - literature. Some say
that if Atwood had not been in the wilderness, but rather around the arising
technology others were surrounded by, perhaps we would not have such magical
works in our presence today. Although Atwood has struck upon many touchy
subjects in literature, she has yet to be significantly influenced by historical
perspectives. She may look to her past for a historical standpoint, or other
significant women of the past; however, Atwood is known well for her futuristic,
and her ‘in the now’ approach to writing. As far as literature and internet
resources today, it appears the Atwood was not influenced in any means by a
political outlook. The closest that one may come to assuming her political
influence would be in her 1979 novel, “Life Before Man”. For many
individuals in todays society, it is quite hard to avoid being socially
influenced in everyday life; therefore, to believe that no one author is
socially influenced in their writing is simply unfathomable. Awards, Critical
and Reader Reviews AWARDS Margaret Atwood has received a great number of awards
and honarary degrees: 1961, E.J. Pratt Medal 1965, President’s Metal,
University of Western Ontario 1966, Governor Generals Award, Circle Game 1967,
Centennial Commision Potry Competition, First 1969, Union Poetry Prize, Poetry (
Chicago) 1974, The Bess Hoskins Prize, Poetry (Chicago) 1977, The City of
Toronto Book Award 1977, The Canadian Bookseller’s Association Award 1977,
Periodical Distributors of Canada Short Fiction 1978, St.Lawrence Award for
Fiction 1980, Radcliffe Graduate Medal 1981, Molson Award 1981, Guggenheim
Fellowship 1981, Companion of the order of Canada 1982, Welsh Arts Council
Internationl Writer’s Prize 1983, Periodical Distributors of Canada and the
Foundation for The Advancement of Canadian Letters Book of the Year Award 1986,
Ida Nudel Humanitarian Award 1986, Toronto Arts Award 1986, Governor General’s
Award, The Handmaids Tale 1986, Los Angeles Times Fiction Award 1986, Ms.
Magazine, Woman of the Year 1987, Shortlisted for the Booker Prize (England)
1987, Shortlisted for the Ritz Hemingway Prize (Paris) 1987, Arthur C. Clarke
Award for best Science Fiction 1987, Commonwealth Literary Prize, Regional
Winner 1987, Council for Advancement and support of Education, Silver Medal,
Best Article of the Year 1987, Humanist of the Year Award 1987, Fellow of the
Royal Society of Canada 1988, YWCA Women Distinction Award 1988, National
Magazine Award for Environmental Journalism, First Prize 1988, American Academy
of Arts and Sciences, Foreign Honorary member, Literature (cont’...) 1989,
Torgi Talking Book (CNIB), Cat’s Eye 1989, Foundation for the Advancement of
Canadian Letters in conjuction with the periodical Maketers’ of Canada Book of
the Year, Cat’s Eye 1989, Shortlisted for the Booker Prize of the Year,
Cat’s Eye, (England) 1990, Order of Ontario 1990, Centennial Medal, Harvard
University 1992, Trillium Award for Excellence in Ontario Writing, Wilderness
Tips 1992, John Hughes Prize, from the Welsh Development Board 1992, Book of the
Year Award from the Periodical Marketers of Canada, Wilderness Tips 1993,
Canadian Authors’ Association Novel of the Year, The Robber Bride 1994,
Commerative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation 1994,
Trillium Award for Excellence in Ontario Writing, The Robber Bride 1994,
Government of France’s Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts st des lettres 1994,
Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence, (London, UK) 1995, Swedish Humour
Association’s Internatioinal Humerous Writer Award 1995, Best Local Author,
NOW Magazine Readers’ Poll 1995, Trillium Award for EXcellence in Ontario
Writing, Morning in the Burned House 1996, Norwegian Order of Literary Merit
1996, Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Alias Grace, (England) 1996, Best Local
Author, NOW Magazine Readers’ Poll 1996, The Giller Prize; for Alias Grace

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