Margaret Atwood's Variations On The Word Sleep

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“Variations on the word Sleep”, by Margaret Atwood, published in 1987, is a poem highly recommended for study at the university level. This poem should be studied because it reflects upon the rhythms of relationships and life, drawing us into the depths and out through the resonance of vivid imagery; and strong poetic devices. It expresses the narrator’s utmost desire to follow her partner into his dreams, to accompany him through his dark intricacy of grief and dispair. Atwood describes the journey into his fantasy, creating a very intense image of it in the readers’ minds. She expresses the narrator’s longing to prove her love and affection for her lover by being his helper and securing his labyrinthine and agonizing fantasy. The poem is…show more content…
It is written in stanzaic form and consists of 30 lines, each that have 5-10 syllables. There is no evidence present of a fixed metrical pattern, neither is there a particular rhyme existent in the poem. Atwood’s “Variations on the Word Sleep” should be studied at university because it exposes students to a unique writing style and helps teach poetic devices. Indeed, Margaret Atwood is an exceptional writer but what makes her writing worthwhile is her strong use of literary and rhetorical devices. For instance, Atwood consistently makes the use of enjambments throughout her poem, in order to complete her sentences over two lines while ensuring that they are still logically and grammatically accurate. Enjambments, are “the continuation of a sentence without a pause beyond the end of a line, couplet, or stanza” and help to create an effortless flow in the poem and helps towards balancing the overall structure. Another form of a poetic device used in the poem, is the anaphoric phrase, “I would like…”. Anaphora is “the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses”. In Atwood’s poem, it has been used to place emphasis on the phrase “I would like…” to reiterate the narrator’s longing and desires. The writer has also made

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