The Transformation of Myopiatic attitude in Margaret Atwood’s Poem

 

The Transformation of Myopiatic
attitude in Margaret Atwood’s Poem “Bored”

 

 

A
research paper submitted to Karunya
Institute of Technology and Sciences – English
Division – School of Science and Humanities

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As
part of the paper presentation for

The
International Conference on

English Language and Literature
(ICELL-18)

 

V.Moti
Joseph

Assistant
Professor

Christ
College of Science and Management, Malur

 

Co-author:

Gaana
Reddy G.S

II
BA

Christ
College of Science and Management, Malur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Transformation of Myopiatic
attitude in Margaret Atwood’s Poem “Bored”

V.Moti
Joseph,

Assistant
Professor,

Christ
College of Science and Management,

Malur.

 

Co-author:
Gaana Reddy G.S

II
BA,

Christ
College of Science and Management,

Malur

 

 

ABSTRACT

 

            This paper entitled, ‘The Transformation of Myopiatic attitude in
Margaret Atwood’s Poem “Bored”‘ by the renowned Canadian poet, novelist and
literary critic brings out the complex experience of boredom through the poet’s
life. In this poem she analyzes life and comes to a conclusion changing her
myopiatic or short-sighted view of boredom. Her negative and insignificant
narrow view of boredom which is reflected in the beginning of the poem
transforms into a positive sunnier outlook towards the end. This poem was
written in 1994 and published in the book, Morning
in the Burned House. The speaker feels that her companion has been the
driving and controlling force in her life. Her partner takes the lead in
everyday activities. She feels physically and emotionally dependent on the
other person. She was not in control of the directions of her life and started
focussing on individual and insignificant details around her. This has made her
happier and now she feels enthusiastic that she does not have to take major
decisions or get herself involved in physical hardworks just like her partner.
She is no longer bored and has started analyzing every situation in her life
reaching a contended state of mind. This paper concludes by bringing out the
transformed mind set of Margret Atwood.

 

            Keywords: boredom,
myopia, again and again, minutiae, sunnier, happier

 

 

Malur

28-01-2018

Introduction

 

            The speaker in the poem is contemplating the life that
she has led up until this point and the way in which her husband, or
significant other, has been both the driving and controlling force in her life.
When the poem begins the speaker gives examples of her partner taking the lead
in everyday activities. Atwood gives examples that are more abstract, as well
as more physically recognizable. She includes “holding the log / while he sawed
it.” As well as sitting in the back of the car, or boat, while he “drove,
steered, paddled.” Atwood’s speaker continues on to describe how, while she was
not in control of the direction of her life, she would focus on individual
details, the “minutiae” of the situation. Such as the sewing on the car seats,
or the loam clay on the ground. She then goes on to compare the actions they
take while together, him pointing, her looking, and taking turns whistling, as
the actions of animals following one another. The poem concludes with the
speaker questioning why experiences look “sunnier” than they actually were. How
perhaps she was happier then, being bored, like “dogs or groundhogs,” and how
if she went back to those times she would no longer be bored. She would want to
know, and know everything.

 

 

Interpretation
& Discussion

 

            The
poem “Bored” by the famous Canadian Poet Margaret Atwood distinctly brings out the
poetess’ childhood emotions, when she would be bored with nothing important to
do. The poetess always had to go behind her father and linger in the shadow of
her father. This brings out the dependency nature, which she felt to be
slightly humiliating and making herself feel insignificant. The verse “bored
out of my mind” may imply that she is bored beyond words. It may also signify
that the feeling that she is bored shows that she is simply out of her mind.

            Interpreting
the poem with regards to its theme – She was bored holding the log while her
father sawed. Her job was confined to the weeding of the lettuces and beets for
which her father “pounded/stakes into the ground for rows and rows.” She would
have to be content staying at the backseat of the car. The poetess here feels
ignored from the point of view of the child, as the lament arose from not
giving her any ‘real’ work or entrusting her with responsibility. The poetess
now, loaded with responsibilities and obligations, feels how foolish she was at
that time to feel that way. She longs to transcend to that care-free
world yet again.

            The
act of sawing was much tougher, the pounding of stakes more tedious. Sitting at
the back of the car looked like ‘taking a backseat.’ Nevertheless, it also meant
sitting without tension or merely being a witness to the destination or like
when the speaker sat ‘still’ in the boat at ease,

“or sat still in boats,

                                  sat, sat, while at the prow, stern,
wheel

                 
he drove, steered, paddled. ”

            At
that point of time it seemed as if he showed her the direction in the boat.
Nevertheless, now it feels as if she did not have to fret about finding the
direction. The poetess says that it was not even boredom. But looking hard up and
close at the slightest details, she terms it as “myopia.” It was rather her
“short-sightedness.” She could not envisage things from a broader point of
view.

The worn gunwales,

            the
intricate twill of the seat

                                        cover.
The acid crumbs of loam, the granular

                                 pink rock, its
igneous veins, the sea-fans

                                          of
dry moss, the blackish and then the graying

                   
 bristles on the back of his neck.

            Sometimes
the poetess’ father would whistle, and sometimes she would. This alternate
whistling signified the rhythm of doing things again and again in a mechanical
routine. However, this mechanized routine was far from superfluous tensions.
They were limited to domestic chores like drying the wood, and doing the
dishes. Animals whiled their way in a similar manner-ferrying the sand, grain
by grain, from their tunnels, shuffling the leaves in their burrows. The
poetess seems to indicate that being irrational is better than being rational.
Though the climate was rainy(gloomy) and filled with bird-song (a symbol of
melancholy, the speaker looks back now as she comprehends that it was sunnier (“happier”).

                 I
could hardly wait to get

             
the hell out of there to

anywhere else

            Margaret
Atwood would currently like someone to open a door into the freedom of the
past. However, the poetess asserts that though boredom is happier, it is for
dogs or groundhogs. For one much not find boredom in the small things of life.
True happiness consists in finding joy in the little things of life, and making
it worthwhile as it lasts.

             
Now I would know too much.

Now I would know.

 

Conclusion

 

            Margaret
Atwood, loaded with responsibilities and obligations, feels how foolish she was
at that time to feel that way. She has an unfulfilled desire within her to
return to the days where she had no worries. The
poem is a conceit, an extended form of metaphor. This is explicitly revealed in
her thoughts “the boring rhythm of doing/things over and over” (21-22). She leaves
him, because “I could hardly wait to get/the hell out of there to/anywhere
else” (33-35). However, now she wonders if “boredom is happier” (36). She
misses him and all that “minutiae” which annoyed her before has now become
endearing as she remembers it as “sunnier/all the time” (30-31) even though it
seemed dreary a little before.

 

References:

 

·        
Atwood, Margaret. (1995).Morning in the
Burned House: New Poems.

New
York : Houghton Mifflin Company.

·        
Nischik, Reingard M. (2002). Margaret
Atwood: Works and Impact. Rochester, NY: Camden House. ISBN 978-1-57113-269-7.

·        
“On Being a Poet: A Conversation
With Margaret Atwood”. www.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2017-01-24

·        
“The Handmaid’s Tale”. World Literatures in English. Archived from the original on January 28, 2016

·        
Sparknotes Editions. (2006). “Sparknotes
on Margaret Atwood?s Poetry?,

Sparknotes.com,Sparknote LLc.
Retrived on December 12,2014 http://m.sparknotes.com/poetry/atwood