ERIC Number: ED332186
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Apr
Reference Count: 0
The Impulse toward Comedy in Margaret Atwood's Poetry.
Benton, Carol L.
The impulse toward comedy in the poetry of Canadian author Margaret Atwood occurs as a by-product of an interaction between scripted text and performing reader. Reading, then, may be profitably viewed as a rehearsal for both. In the classroom, this stylistic approach to Atwood's poetry can be emphasized over thematic analysis. In her poetry, parentheses act as textually defined cues for comedy. Additionally, the reader specifies the exact voicing for the persona, opening up the text's potential for comic interpretation. Readers may use rate, pitch, stress, and vocal tone to highlight comic attitudes. Many of Atwood's poems allow the possibility of sounding sarcastic, manipulative, condescending, and witty. The implications for Atwood's canon are: (1) that there may be more similarities than initially realized between poetic and narrative texts; (2) that Atwood's poems benefit from comic interpretations; and (3) that a comic rendering of Atwood's poems alters and reshapes the voice of personae. As a result of the enlarged vocal dimension, the reader-text relationship is changed. A rehearsal of comic impulses enlarges Atwood's poetic potential. (Twelve endnotes are included; thirty-eight references are attached.) (Author/SG)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Reading Uses; Text Factors
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Central States Communication Association (Detroit, MI, April 5-8, 1990).