Margaret Atwood

MARGARET ATWOOD
There is so much silence between the words…

SOCI 4019
September 29, 1999.

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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 Atwoods 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 werent 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 bachelors degree from Victoria College in
1961, and then went on to receive her Masters 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, Presidents 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 Booksellers 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 Writers 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 Generals 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), Cats Eye
1989, Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Letters in conjuction with the
periodical Maketers of Canada Book of the Year, Cats Eye
1989, Shortlisted for the Booker Prize of the Year, Cats 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 Frances Chevalier dans lOrdre des Arts st des lettres
1994, Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence, (London, UK)
1995, Swedish Humour Associations 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
Biographies

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