Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Renard Roux

In Red Fox, Atwood uses the motif of hunger in order to show that there is no such thing as "virtuous poverty."

In the fifth stanza, this is especially obvious. The speaker says, "Hunger corrupts, and absolute hunger corrupts absolutely," implying that none, not even the most virtuous of us, would remain virtuous in the face of death. The speaker goes on to say, "Of course there are mothers, squeezing their breasts dry, pawning their bodies, shedding teeth for their children." This is seemingly contradictory to what the speaker says previously, after all, what is more virtuous than a mother doing every last thing she can in order to feed her starving children? However, the speaker goes on to say, " Or that's our fond belief. But remember-Hansel and Gretel were dumped in the forest because their parents were starving." This clearly shows that there is no such thing as "virtuous poverty." Even though parents want to protect and provide for their children, there's a point where it is no longer possible, and they have to let the children fend for themselves.

Whether the fact that "absolute hunger corrupts absolutely," or that "Hansel and Gretel were dumped in the woods because their parents were starving," the motif of hunger in Red Fox shows that there is no such thing as "virtuous poverty."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bullets Don't Take Bribes, They Shoot S***

In From the Frontier of Writing, Seamus Heaney develops a conceit in order to show the pressures and dificulties of writing. Heaney develops this conceit through the comparison of writing and the process of writing with images like guns and troops.
There are many ways to interpret exactly what part of the writing process Heaney is writing about, but personally, I think that he is writing about the process of trying to be published. In the sixth stanza Heaney writes "the marksman training down out of the sun upon you like a hawk." I took this as the marksmen being an editor of sorts, just waiting to dive out of the sky and rip your work to shreds. I imagine that this would be a very stressful and difficult time for a writer, having to stand in front of this person who is almost just about playing god with the piece that you've undoubtedly spent quite a while on. And even after you've made it past the editor, you're not out of the woods yet, you still have to walk past "armor-plated vehicles" and "the posted soldiers". These images again show the pressures of trying to be published because even once you've gotten published, the publisher's eyes are still on you, just waiting for your next piece so that they can rip that apart as well.